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Tuesday, February 28

Donald Trump delivers first speech to Congress


US president says he will shortly take new steps to 'keep those out' who would do harm to his country. ON TRUMP'S AGENDA Replace the Affordable Care Act, the healthcare law known as Obamacare. It provides coverage to millions of uninsured Americans. Increase military spending by $54bn, funded by other budget cuts, including of foreign aid. Target the Environmental Protection Agency, including by reviewing an Obama-era rule that limits pollution in major rivers, streams and wetlands. US President Donald Trump is addressing a joint session of Congress for the first time, in a televised speech laying out his agenda for the next year. Opening his speech by condemning recent threats against Jewish community centres, vandalism of Jewish cemeteries and the deadly shooting of an Indian man in Kansas last week, Trump said he took the podium to deliver a message of "unity and strength". The Republican had received criticism for not reacting strongly enough to the acts and he had not yet commented on the apparently racially motivated murder of Srinivas Kuchibhotla. Trump then went on to the core issue of his election campaign and his presidency so far: immigration reform. He pledged again to build a "great, great wall" on the Mexican border and said that "by finally enforcing our immigration laws, we will raise wages, help the unemployed," and save billions of dollars. He also announced that he will shortly take new steps to "keep those out" who he said would do harm to the US - after judges earlier this month struck down his ban on refugees and citizens from seven Muslim-majority countries. In the audience, Democratic women wore white in honour of women's suffrage. Some Democrats also wore blue ribbons for the American Civil Liberties Union, which was instrumental in challenging Trump's immigration ban. US Vice President Mike Pence, left, and Speaker of the House Paul Ryan applaud Trump at Capitol Hill [Jim Lo Scalzo/Reuters] Democrats also invited immigrants and others representing those they say could be hurt by Trump's policies to attend the speech. Lawmakers typically get one guest ticket each. Among those invited were an Iraqi-born doctor who discovered elevated levels of lead in the blood of many children living in Flint, a Muslim community leader, refugees and an LGBT activist. Al Jazeera's James Bays, reporting from Capitol Hill, said the address was very different from previous Trump speeches. "It was a conventional speech, a presidential speech... with no references to 'fake news' or 'dishonest media'". "He said in his speech that 'the time for trivial fights is behind us'...This feels a bit like a reset speech from the president. A new tone, but not much new in terms of policy." Later on in the speech, Trump praised the US armed forces vowed to give the military "the tools they need" to prevent war and, if necessary, "to fight and to win". In his budget proposal, the president is suggesting boosting military spending by $54bn - by cutting the budget of the state department and foreign aid. The proposal has been criticised by Republicans who say that cuts in diplomatic efforts are going to create enemies for the US rather than make it safer. Executive action Since taking office on January 20, Trump has signed at least 23 executive actions which do not need to pass Congress and signed five bills into law. Going forward, he will need support from Congress, dominated by his Republican Party, to push through his agenda.

Germany's 2014 world cup hero, Mario Gotze, ruled out of football 'indefinitely' after he's diagnosed of metabolic disorder




Germany's 2014 world cup hero, Mario Gotze, ruled out of football 'indefinitely' after he's diagnosed of metabolic disorder
Mario Gotze, the striker who scored Germany's winning goal in the 2014 FIFA World cup has been ruled out of football indefinitely as he's been diagnosed of 'metabolic disorders', a condition that has made his performance the last two years worrisome for his last two clubs- Bayern, Dortmund and his country, Germany.
Since 2011, Gotze has missed a total of 39 games due to 10 different muscle injuries. He 's been criticized by sports analysts for his general fitness and weight issues as he has struggled to build on his career since he gained world wide recognition after his world cup goal..
After failing to find a place for himself at Bayern Munich, the midfielder returned to Dortmund last summer, and has been a bench warmer this season.
Borussia Dortmund on it's official website wrote:
Bundesliga club Borussia Dortmund will continue to be without midfielder Mario Götze for the time being. The 24-year-old World Cup winner has continually suffered with muscular problems in the last few months, prompting a comprehensive internal investigation into the possible causes.
Those investigations revealed the player has metabolic disturbances, rendering it absolutely necessary to withdraw him from team training for the time being. "I'm currently undergoing treatment and will do everything in my power to be back in training and helping my team to achieve our common goals as soon as possible," Götze said.
    "We're happy to have now uncovered the reasons for Mario's difficulties and are convinced that his extraordinary abilities will give us additional quality once he has completely recovered from this," emphasised Borussia Dortmund's Sporting Director Michael Zorc, who continued: "Mario has the full backing and maximum support of everyone at BVB during his recovery!"

Syria's FSA vows to attack government forces in Al Bab




Sunday, February 26

NEW ARTIST FROM NIGERIA IN WEST AFRICA

(NC NONNI THE NEW GREAT ARTIST FROM NIGERIA WITH GREAT HIT OF MUSIC)
 The beat of songs never leaves it sweetness but bring the mind and soul together for great.
      ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Here come to the light of this young artist, Always proving his uniqueness and love in the industry, Nc Nonni has arrived again with a thrilling single entitled "FREE UR MIND". The jam is produced by the lagos-based producer, Pmynor, who have produced for the likes of wizkid, Davido, Seriki, etc. You can't wait to feel this hit. Enjoy listening and share.
    ---------             --------                                                            -----   -----
         *Great for him with good talent to sing to the whole world with great ability*
TO DOWNLOAD THE BIT (SONG) CLICK>>>>>

Thursday, February 23

Expect Changes in Nation’s Port, Business Visas, Others Soon – Osinbajo

*FG adopts 60-day national action plan on ease of doing business

*Acting President Osinbajo joined by Saraki, Dogara, at 6th PEBEC meeting at Presidential Villa

Committed to achieving its objective of creating a conducive business environment in Nigeria, the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC) chaired by Acting President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN has approved a 60-day national action plan to push through short term reforms.

The Acting President, who addressed journalists after the Council’s meeting attended today by the Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki and Speaker of the Federal House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Yakubu Dogara at the State House, said the Council will within the stipulated period focus on areas that will not only deliver tangible changes for SMEs but also help improve Nigeria’s entire business environment within the shortest possible time.

According to Prof. Osinbajo, “we are trying to improve the business environment in three broad respects; the entry and exit of goods; entry and exit of persons into Nigeria, and then general government transparency- transparency and efficiency in government agencies, parastatals.

“The whole idea is that we are able to provide an environment for those who want to do business in Nigeria- local businesses and of course, foreign businesses.’’

The Acting President said the participation of National Assembly’s leadership at Tuesday’s meeting was to “work together, trying to improve the business environment in Nigeria.’’

Prof. Osinbajo said the renewed synergy with the legislature was to ensure that all the necessary legislations relating to the reforms were passed by the National Assembly.

The Acting President said: “There are pieces of legislations that we are also looking forward to seeing. We are working together with the National Assembly to ensure that these pieces of legislations are passed.“
He added that the expected outcome of the new plan will be noticeable in improvements in all the key areas of government that facilitate trade and commerce.
According to Acting President Osinbajo, “there are improvements which we expect to see at our ports. Improvements at our airports, improvements at the seaports, improvements in immigration visas etc.

“So there are quite a few things that we have seen and which we will continue to look at.’’

Prof. Osinbajo however noted that “the set timelines in the action plan were to ensure that we are not just speaking about these things without necessarily tying ourselves down to specific timelines.’’

In his own remarks, the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki stressed the importance of the executive/legislature collaboration in creating a conducive business environment for both local and foreign businesses in Nigeria.

The senate president, who commended the efforts of the executive, said the National Assembly would look into some of the issues that it could to improve the business environment in the country.

The Senate President and Speaker of the House of Representatives led the leadership of the National Assembly to the expanded meeting of the PEBEC.

Also present at the meeting were federal ministers who are members of the Council including the Attorney General & Justice Minister, Abubakar Malami, SAN; Industry, Trade and Investment Minister, Dr Okey Enelamah; Power, Works and Housing Minister, Mr Babatunde Fashola, SAN; and the Information and Culture Minister, Alhaji Lai Mohammed.

Other members of the Council including the Comptroller-General of the Nigeria Customs Service, Col. Hammed Ali (rtd), the Comptroller-General of the Nigeria Immigration Service, Muhammed Babandede and the Managing Director of the Nigerian Ports Authority, Hadiza Bala Usman, attended the meeting.

Peugeot owner PSA sees profits nearly double

The owner of French carmaker Peugeot has reported a near doubling of profits, as it considers buying General Motors' (GM) Opel and Vauxhall brands.

Net income at PSA Group, which also owns Citroen, jumped 92% last year to 1.73bn euros (£1.47bn).

PSA's possible purchase of GM's European brands has raised fears of job losses at Vauxhall in the UK.

On Wednesday, PSA said it had promised Theresa May it would "develop" the Vauxhall brand if the deal goes ahead.

But it offered no further commitments to protect the 4,500 jobs making cars at Ellesmere Port and vans in Luton.

The two firms are expected to sign a statement of intent during the next two weeks.

General Motors announced last week it was in discussions over selling its European brands, Opel and Vauxhall, to PSA. That prompted speculation that the French company would cut capacity by closing plants.
Image copyright Vauxhall
Image caption Vauxhall's Ellesmere Port factory in Cheshire is known as "the home of the Astra"

Politicians in Germany and the UK have begun lobbying on behalf of their own locations. On Wednesday evening UK Prime Minister Theresa May spoke to PSA chief executive Carols Tavares on the telephone.

During the call, PSA chief executive Carlos Tavares "expressed his willingness to develop further the iconic Vauxhall brand for the benefit of its faithful customers", PSA said in a statement.

PSA said its operating margin, the level of profit it makes on sales, had risen from 5% in 2015 to 6% in 2016. It is the third year in a row that operating margin, sales and net profit have improved at the group, which flirted with bankruptcy in 2014.

As a result of the company's improved performance, chief financial officer Jean-Baptiste de Chatillon said PSA was in a position to make "profitable investments in the interest of our shareholders".

However, he added that the outcome of the talks with GM were not yet certain.
Analysis
Image copyright Getty Images
Theo Leggett, BBC business reporter

According to Carlos Tavares, Opel needs help. It has, he says, been making red ink for 10 years and burning 1bn euros in cash every year.

If you put it that way, it's easy to see why General Motors wants to get rid of it - but why is PSA Group so interested in taking it on?

In today's press conference, Mr Tavares set out a few reasons. And one of them seems to be the international reputation of German-built cars compared to their French rivals.

In some countries, he said, French-built cars simply don't sell. He didn't specify where, although the United States would appear to be a prime example.

Combining the two companies would also generate cost savings. And having engineered a rescue for PSA itself, when the French giant came close to going bust in 2014, Mr Tavares knows how to turn a failing business around.

So there's logic in the planned deal. But Mr Tavares can have no illusions about the political sensitivities involved. Despite his promises to honour existing labour agreements, analysts believe job cuts at some point are inevitable.

So the road ahead could be a rocky one.

Tuesday, February 21

Fact-checking Trump's claim that he has no business ties to Russia

Trump doesn’t own real estate in Russia, but he’s done plenty of business with Russians.
At a raucous press conference on Thursday, President Trump faced a volley of questions about his and his inner circle’s ties to Russia. At one point, he declared: “I can tell you, speaking for myself, I own nothing in Russia. I have no loans in Russia. I don't have any deals in Russia.”
And he’s right. Trump has a long history of trying to do business in Russia, but despite many efforts and plenty of boasting and angling, he hasn’t managed to land a single major real estate deal there.
But that’s only part of the picture. He has partnered with Russian financiers on major projects elsewhere around the world. Russian investors have been instrumental in helping him cope with all the credit problems he has thanks to his serial bankruptcies. And a number of Trump’s former and current advisers have had financial ties to Russia.
As of now, there isn’t any kind of evidence that suggests Trump has some spectacular financial prize to gain by warming to Russia. There’s no particular reason to think that getting friendly with Vladimir Putin ensures something for his real estate empire that couldn’t be gained by cozying up to, say, the president of Argentina.
Still, Trump’s business ties to Russia are striking nonetheless. Even without access to his tax returns or venturing into conjecture about hidden business interests, it’s clear that Trump has an affinity for doing deals with Russians. Furthermore, it’s clear that his affinity for doing business with them is intertwined with how he perceives them politically; as Franklin Foer points out in Slate, Trump’s public affection for Vladimir Putin corresponds with his dependence on Russian investors.
It’s difficult to say if his praise was intended to make it easier for him to gain access to the Russian market, or if it simply arose out a sincere appreciation for Russia’s authoritarian political culture as he began to understand it more — or some combination of the two. But in either case it’s clear that Trump’s attempts at making deals in Russia have gone beyond business.
Trump has tried really hard to do business in Russia — and failed most of the time
Trump’s history with Russia dates back to the Soviet era. In 1986, he and Soviet ambassador Yuri Dubinin got to talking about building hotels in Moscow. “One thing led to another, and now I’m talking about building a large luxury hotel across the street from the Kremlin in partnership with the Soviet government,” Trump wrote in in his book Trump: The Art of the Deal. The next year, Dubinin invited Trump to Moscow, where he talked with the Soviet tourist agency about hotel projects. The hotels never came to fruition, but Trump’s interest in Russia has remained ever since.
Some of Trump’s trademark bombast and recklessness are very apparent in his earliest hopes to forge some kind of relationship with Russia, which he considered largely uncharted territory for Western businesses and a potential boon for his own. In his essay for Slate, Foer recalls how Trump planted fabricated stories in the tabloid press about how Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev was going to make a stop by Trump Tower during a visit to New York in 1988. But in a bizarre turn of events, a Gorbachev impersonator did show up at his hotel, and Trump enthusiastically greeted him, thinking he was the real deal.
In the following years, Trump’s streak of disappointments continued. Per Foer:
    Five separate times Trump attempted Russian projects, hotels, apartments, and retail on the grandest scale. In one iteration, he promised an ice rink, a “members club,” and a spa, for “the finest residences in Moscow.” Another project he described as “the largest hotel in the world.” His gaudy style appealed to Russian nouveau riche, and he knew it.
None of those projects worked out. CNN reports that between 1996 and 2008, Trump hired the Russian law firm Sojuzpatent in order to claim at least eight trademarks in the country. Those trademarks include "Trump," "Trump Tower," "Trump Home," Trump International Hotel and Tower.” But he never ended up getting to use them for buildings because of some kind of insurmountable obstacle on the investment or approval side.
That being said, Trump did have a few modest victories in Russia. He has made a little bit of cash from allowing Drinks Americas Holdings to use his name to sell 8,000 cases of vodka in Russia.
More notably, he brought the Miss Universe Pageant to Moscow in 2013, in partnership with Russian billionaire Aras Agalarov. At the time, Trump publicly contemplated whether it would increase the likelihood of a friendship with Putin.
    Do you think Putin will be going to The Miss Universe Pageant in November in Moscow - if so, will he become my new best friend?
    — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 19, 2013
Trump’s most substantial ties to Russia are through Russian investors
Trump hasn’t had great success breaking into Russia itself, but he has gotten along quite well with Russian buyers and investors.
In 2008, Trump sold a mansion in Palm Beach, Florida, to Russian billionaire Dmitry Rybolovlev for $95 million. On the campaign trail, Trump at one point claimed it was his only dealing with Russia, but that’s not accurate.
The same year he sold the mansion, his son, Donald Trump Jr., told the global trade publication eTurboNews that Russians were key investors in the Trump Organization’s assets. "And in terms of high-end product influx into the US, Russians make up a pretty disproportionate cross-section of a lot of our assets; say in Dubai, and certainly with our project in SoHo and anywhere in New York,” Trump Jr. said in the interview. “We see a lot of money pouring in from Russia. There's indeed a lot of money coming for new-builds and resale reflecting a trend in the Russian economy and, of course, the weak dollar versus the ruble."
Money from Russia was particularly important to Trump’s business interests because his many bankruptcies had taken a toll on his creditworthiness. Bankers on Wall Street became unwilling to lend him money due to what they termed “the Donald risk.”
The most notable — and most notorious — of Trump’s Russian investors came through the Bayrock Group, which according to CNN, was “a company run by Soviet immigrants, and according to a lawsuit filed, financed by Russian and Kazakhstan money.” Bayrock, whose operations were headed by a man accused in a lawsuit of using “mob-like tactics to achieve his goals,” helped develop huge Trump projects in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Phoenix, Arizona, and New York.
A number of Trump’s advisers have had financial links to Russia as well
Trump’s inner circle for the past year has been populated by a number of operatives with financial ties to Russia or Russian interests. It’s not necessarily all by design, but it raises additional questions about what set of values and incentives underpinned the formation of Trump’s consistently pro-Russia stance on the campaign trail.
Paul Manafort, Trump’s former campaign manager, has consulted extensively for pro-Russian former Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych. He played a key role in orchestrating Yanukovych’s winning election campaign in 2010.
Last summer, the New York Times reported the discovery of “handwritten ledgers show[ing] $12.7 million in undisclosed cash payments designated for Mr. Manafort from Mr. Yanukovych’s pro-Russian political party from 2007 to 2012.” Manafort denied that he worked for the Ukrainian government or the Russian government at any point, but public concerns about inappropriate ties to Russia may have played some role in his decision to quit running Trump’s campaign in August.
Michael Flynn, who resigned from his post as National Security Adviser on Monday, also has Russia ties that extend further back than the conversation about sanctions with the Russian ambassador in December that got him in hot water. The US Army is investigating whether Flynn took money from the Russian government for a trip to Moscow in 2015 — and whether the payment could potentially constitute a violation of the Emoluments Clause of the Constitution, since former military officers are not meant to take money from foreign governments without permission from Congress.
And Carter Page, a former — and obscure — foreign policy adviser to Trump during his campaign, was an energy consultant in Russia who advised Russia’s state-controlled gas company Gazprom. Russia analyst Julia Ioffe wrote in Politico magazine that he likely quickly gained political stature in Russia through his association with Trump.
Rex Tillerson, Trump’s secretary of state, has more than a 15 years of associations with Vladimir Putin and was the former head of Exxon Mobil’s division in Russia. Doing business with Russia in the Arctic was a massive prospect for Exxon that would’ve personally enriched Tillerson a great deal, and while heading Exxon he vocally opposed US sanctions against the country. His fortunes are no longer tied up in Exxon’s performance — in the run up to taking office, he opted to put the value of his company shares in an independently managed trust. But of course his savvy with Russia’s political and economic elites — and his Russian Order of Friendship award — remain.
Trump likes Russia, and he wants it to like him back
The biggest takeaway from what we know so far about Trump’s Russia connections and how they could influence his view of US-Russia policy isn’t that a warming of ties is likely to make him unfathomably wealthy all of a sudden. Sure, gaining the friendship of Putin probably makes a real estate deal in Russia more likely and makes it easier to find more Russian investors. But it won’t transform his prosperity, and there are other countries that could serve a similar purpose for him.
The most striking connection Trump has to Russia through his business ties appears to be social and psychological. It’s a history of forging trust and connections with Russian investors. And in the case of his long-desired Trump tower in Moscow, it’s also one of unfulfilled aspiration and fantasy. Along the way, he’s gotten a taste of Russian culture, observed it firsthand during visits, admired Putin’s authoritarian style, and met with Russian oligarchs that he’s been desperate to impress. It’s hard to not come to the conclusion that he simply likes Russia. Even for businessmen, not everything is about making money.

Amazon brings free shipping minimum back down to $35

The battle between Amazon and Walmart is heating up.

Amazon has lowered its free shipping minimum for non-Prime members to $35 -- a nearly 29% drop.

The company increased its free shipping threshold to $49 from $35 almost a year ago.

Items will be delivered five to eight days after they are available to ship.

Amazon didn't specify exactly when the minimum was lowered, but did say the change happened "recently."

Orders that contain at least $25 of eligible books also ship free.

Shoppers with an Amazon (AMZN, Tech30) Prime membership, which costs $10.99 a month or $99 a year, get unlimited free two-day shipping on eligible items along with other benefits like streaming TV, movies and music.

Related: Move over, Amazon: Here comes Walmart

As more people turn to online shopping, Walmart (WMT) and Amazon have been competing for customers.

Walmart started offering free two-day shipping without a membership fee on orders of at least $35 on January 31. It had previously offered unlimited free two-day shipping with its $49-a-year-ShippingPass subscription.

On Tuesday, Walmart reported its e-commerce revenue increased 29% in the fourth quarter from a year ago. Amazon reported earlier this month that total sales rose 22% in the same period.

Nigeria drops to fourth position as China’s trade partner

Trade relations between Nigeria and China dropped last year with Nigeria losing her position as the second largest trading partner with China.
According to the Chinese Ambassador to Nigeria, Zhou Pingjian, trade relations between the two countries nosedived from about $15bn in 2015 to about to about $3.1bn in 2016; resulting to Nigeria’s drop from her second position to fourth as trade partners.

Pingjian disclosed this during a visit of the House of Representatives Committee on Nigeria-China Relations to the Headquarters of CGCOC a Chinese private company, in Abuja.
“Nigeria-China trade is declining fast. Nigeria used to be China’s number two trade partner in Africa, but it’s now number four”, the envoy stated.

He however expressed confidence that the situation can be improved upon with focus and implementation of policy agreements reached by the two countries and commended Nigeria for supporting the ‘One China Policy’. “We need to follow up on the outcomes of the Forum of China-Africa Cooperation summit and President Muhammad Buhari’s state visit to China in April last year”, he said.

The ambassador disclosed that one of the fall-outs of the president’s visit was the construction of the Agricultural Training Centre in Bwari, Abuja by CGCOC to assist Nigeria’s diversification efforts.
Pingjian said with over $139tn Foreign Direct Investment, China is interested and ready to expand investment in Nigeria and urged the government to create enabling environment for investors to come in.
“As Chinese ambassador to Nigeria, I wish a small part of the $139bn could come to Nigeria”, he said, adding that as an ambassador he was willing to facilitate it.

Pingjian reiterated China’s commitment to Nigeria’s economic revival and as well as readiness to support the nation’s economic diversification efforts.
Similarly, CGCOC Group Managing Director, Ye Shuijin who called for improved security in the country, noted that Chinese firms in Nigeria were ready to make greater contribution to the socio-economic development of the country.

Shuijin, who also doubled as Chairman of the China Chamber of Commerce in Nigeria expressed the need for the establishment of a Strategic Master Plan by Nigeria and China to fast track industrialisation of the country.

“We have more than 20 industrial zones in Nigeria, we have funds abroad that can be brought into Nigeria for investment but it has to be strategically done”, he said.
The MD disclosed that in 2008 CGCOC ventured into mechanised farming in Wara, Kebbi State and today the company is one of the leading producers of rice accounting for about 50 per cent of rice production in Nigeria.

Earlier, committee Chairman, Yusuf Buba Yakub, disclosed that the purpose of the visit was to see how relations between Nigeria and China can be improved upon. According to him, “The dream is to come up with Chinese made in Nigeria products”.

FG extends 2016 budget implementation to March 2017 [NIGERIA]

The Federal Government has extended the execution of the N1.58tn capital component of the 2016 budget to the end of March 2017.

The development was confirmed by the Accountant-General of the Federation, Alhaji Ahmed Idris, via a circular with reference number OAGF/CAD/026/V.111/108.

The circular, which was obtained by our correspondent on Friday in Abuja, was addressed to top government officials such as the Chief of Staff to the President, Secretary to the Government of the Federation, ministers, National Security Adviser, Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria and all service chiefs.

Others are the Chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service, all permanent secretaries (federal), Clerk of the National Assembly, Auditor General of the Federation, all vice chancellors of federal universities, all directors of finance and internal audit and all directors-general.

The circular, titled “Guidelines for financial activities for end of year 2016”, stated that while the implementation of the recurrent budget was expected to end on December 31, 2016, the capital component would be allowed to go on until March ending.

Idris said the need to issue the circular became imperative in order to promote probity, transparency and good governance.
The circular read in part, “It has become imperative to provide guidelines to all Ministries, Departments and Agencies and other arms of government on financial activities for the fiscal year ending December 31, 2016.

“The objective of the guidelines is to promote probity, transparency, accountability and good governance in line with the policy of trust of the present administration.

“All ‘unspent’ balances in the recurrent expenditure cash books at the end of 2016 financial year will be closed.

“The Government Integrated Financial Management Information System platform will be closed by midnight of December 31, 2016 and the MDA balances will be mopped into the Consolidated Revenue/Treasury Single Account accordingly.

“The unexpended recurrent votes of the MDAs on the TSA-sub accounts under the CBN/Remita gateway for the 2016 financial year shall similarly lapse at midnight of December 31, 2016.”

It added, “Capital allocation and statutory transfer for the financial year ended December 31, 2016 will not be closed but extended to March 31, 2017.

“Accordingly, all MDAs will have access to their capital funds and statutory transfers up until March 31, 2017 as may be applied by the National Assembly.”

The circular, however, stipulated that the MDAs would be responsible for transfering the relevant legal or financial commitments into the New Year.

The transfer commitment, it added, would have impact on the 2017 budget including the capital budget transferred from the 2016 fiscal period.

It however, noted that such transactions would be separately disclosed in the consolidated financial statements of the Federal Government.

The N6.06tn 2016 budget, which was signed into law by President Muhammadu Buhari on May 5 had a recurrent expenditure of N2.65tn; capital expenditure of N1.58tn, with debt service of N1.47tn and fiscal deficit of N2.2tn.

So far, about N753.6bn has been released by the Ministry of Finance for capital projects with the Ministry of Power receiving the highest amount of capital releases of N209.24bn.

The Special Adviser on Media to the Finance Minister, Mr. Festus Akanbi, said in a statement that the Ministry of Defence had N69.5bn and the Ministry of Transportation followed with N30.5bn.

Others are agriculture, N29.5bn; water resources, N25.2bn; interior, N21.2bn; health, N18.4bn; education, N16.7bn; Niger Delta, N8.1bn; science and technology, N6.6bn; mines and steel, N3.3bn; and petroleum resources, N2.4bn.

The statement from the ministry also stated that the sum of N312.5bn was released to what it described as “others”.

The Minister of Budget and National Planning, Senator Udo Udoma, said a total of N753.6bn already released for capital expenditure in 2016 was the highest in the nation’s recent history, even in the era of high oil prices.

At an interactive session with members of the Senate Committee on Appropriation in Abuja, Udoma had said that in spite of the shortfall in revenue expectation, the government was committed to its debt obligations and had made efforts to fund the critical sectors to enable the government to function smoothly while seeking lasting solutions to the revenue shortfalls.

He explained that although the 2016 budget was well conceived, with reasonably conservative benchmarks, it recorded unanticipated revenue shortfalls along the line due to militants’ activities in the oil-producing Niger Delta region.

This development, he added, adversely affected the budgeted production levels for the 2016 fiscal year.

Govt to bring legislation to ban Ponzi schemes: CBI chief Anil Sinha

NEW DELHI: With Ponzi schemes of over Rs 1.2 lakh crores being probed by CBI, government will shortly bring a bill in Parliament to stop illegal deposit schemes, the probe agency Chief Anil Sinha said here today.

Addressing 22nd Conference of CBI and State anti-corruption bodies, he said the conference would also deliberate on the legislative and regulatory gaps that have led to widespread growth of Ponzi schemes across the country in which crores of innocent citizens have been cheated.

"CBI investigations into these scams have enabled us to identify the weaknesses in existing laws and regulations which have been exploited by the scamsters. We have been actively engaged with the Government of India in bringing a new legislation to ban these illegal deposit taking activities," Sinha said.
The CBI Director said the discussions with all states would go a long way in giving strength to the new legislation which may be introduced in Parliament shortly.

"The government has taken the challenge of corruption and black money head on by initiating several bold measures. It is my fervent hope that the deliberations of this Conference will lead to actionable outcomes so that the fight against corruption and crime is waged more strongly across the country and beyond our individual jurisdictions," he said.

One session in the conference is devoted to deliberations on establishing a National Anti-Corruption Citizen Support Centre which would provide a 24x7 single point of contact for citizens, Sinha said.

"Hopefully, the discussions will be fruitful and we can go to the government very shortly with a concrete proposal for establishing this centre. This will be a landmark initiative in empowering citizens to fight corruption," he said.

Asia up as Wall Street extends record rise, dollar steady

Asian stocks edged up on Wednesday, joining a record-setting night for world markets as investors cheered upbeat factory activity in Europe and solid earnings on Wall Street.

The dollar was steady after hawkish comments from top Federal Reserve officials bolstered expectations the world's no. 1 economy was strong enough to keep policymakers on course to further raise rates this year.

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan nudged up 0.1 percent, taking its cues from the world stock index rising to an all-time peak of 446.21 overnight.

Japan's Nikkei and South Korea's Kospi each added 0.15 percent.

The Dow rose 0.6 percent on Tuesday to notch a record closing high for the eighth straight session, lifted by strong earnings reports from Wal-Mart and Home Depot.

That followed a strong showing in European equities, which were boosted by upbeat German and French factory activity data, with Germany's DAX rising to its highest in nearly two years.

"U.S. stock markets are currently a great example of the old trading adage that the trend is your friend," wrote Ric Spooner, chief market analyst at CMC Markets.

"The slide in the euro as Marie Le Penn's polls improve was the other key feature of international markets last night and is an early indicator that French elections could loom larger on the market radar over coming weeks."

The euro hovered near $1.0526, the low from the previous day when it lost more than 0.7 percent.

While the European political concerns remain a drag on the euro, the dollar received a further boost following hawkish comments from Cleveland and Philadelphia Fed Presidents Loretta Mester and Patrick Harker.

Mester expressed comfort at raising rates at this point, while Harker reportedly said a March rate hike was on the table.

The financial markets are waiting on the Fed's Jan. 31-Feb. 1 policy meeting minutes due later in the day for fresh hints on the central bank's stance towards interest rates.

The dollar was steady at 113.660 yen after climbing 0.5 percent overnight to a five-day high of 113.780. The greenback's index against a basket of major currencies was a shade higher at 101.400 after gaining 0.5 percent the previous day.

The Australian and New Zealand dollars were flat at $0.7676 and $0.7163, respectively.

In commodities, crude extended gains from the previous day when it touched 1-1/2-month peaks on OPEC's optimism for greater compliance with its deal with other producers including Russia to curb output.

U.S. crude rose 0.1 percent to $54.38 a barrel.

(Editing by Shri Navaratnam)

Monday, February 20

ADFLY BUSINESS

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Sunday, February 19

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Friday, February 17

BITCYCLER INVESTMENT

Have you ever heard about BITCYCLER? if you haven't, don't worry I will introduce you to the BITCYCLER INVESTMENT where you can invest your BITCOIN with full income profit in it. NB: BITCYCLER DOESN'T  PLAY MATRIX LEG OR REFEREE DEAL. IT IS A MUTUAL BUSINESS WHERE YOU DEPOSIT AND WITHDRAW OUT TO BITCOINWALLET.Registration details: https://Bitcycler.com/register/offorndubuisi 
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Thursday, February 16

BITCOIN BUSINESS

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2nd anniversary: Ambode has done well, but PDP faction

Lagos – The Moshood Salvador faction of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in Lagos on Sunday commended the Gov. Akinwunmi Ambode-led...