Monthly Archives: November 2010
Any Nation that refuses to be guided by the principles of nationhood will have to live by struggle of the sword. The continuous imposition of regional sentiment on issues of National interest is becoming a colossal embarrassment to the country Nigeria. Quota system, one evil which continuously cripple the efficiency, proficiency and sound judgment of our leaders, inherently promote mediocrity and discouragement. When one loses to a better contender, words that readily comes to mind is ‘with better sustained effort, I will conquer next time’ We only complain about the effect of quota system, rotation policy et al, when we are at the receiving end, we hear statement like he was the Director General of XYZ, he failed to pick any of his person. Even when it is glaring that the person in question does not have the capacity to perform at that level. We all have a role to play in erasing this scourge.
The recent case of the Consensus Committee of (NPLF), lead by Mallam Ciroma which picked ex-VP Atiku ahead of the likes of IBB, Gasau, and Saraki. This kind of strategy though acceptable in politics, but using consensus and regionalization to win support becomes counter-productive. When we begin to emphasize on a region, we begin to unconsciously tell others that we don’t belong to them; in the light of the present political dispensation we might not be able to see the impact. But when the system frees itself of all slogs, we will pay for actions like this. Everyday our political environment keeps evolving for the better, though many may think to the contrary; but in the near future, votes will count and when this happens electoral conscience will be paramount.
I seek caution from the Ciroma’s of our political scenario. Today they may be relevant but tomorrow they will have no place. We need leaders that will make us see ourselves as one, and not let the imaginary lines of separation be in our hearts. My heart bleeds for this nation as every day we keep making same mistakes of Power Rotation & Regional Consensus which to a large extends is demeaning. It’s a shame that we have put aside credibility while celebrating nepotism and tribalism in the eyes of the world. We will continue to push on as we alienate ourselves from this dehumanizing trend.
We all look forward to a day our leader will be selected on credibility, capability and a renew sense to deliver, when this happens we will become the Nation of our dreams; as we prepare for the polls let Saraki, Gasau, IBB, Jonathan and others drop the cheap strategy to regional sensitization to promote their campaign. Let them sell themselves to the people as they seek their votes. These leaders are not going to lead their region alone but the whole of Nigeria. I foresee a day that the choice of the man who leads this great and beautiful Nation, will not be based on the region he comes from but rather the content of what he is made up of. In time past we had locked out people who could have given us the required change. They were denied either because of where they come from or the region they are from is – not supposedly meant to lead us – not zoned to yet.
A National awareness on the evil of nepotism, tribalism and quota system need be preached by those of us who are touched. We can’t continue to look, as we suffer in silence and watch the future of our young fade away, as our youth waste their strength in vices that debase instead of being productive. We shall fight this evil that is been perpetuated by a very few that influence the growth and development of all of us. Whether some self imposed bodies pick a consensus candidate or not we shall support and vote for the leader of our choice. The power to choose is one of the most gracious powers given to man by God and we will not allow some evil minded individuals oppress and intimidate us to a standstill.
Enough is enough!!!
South Africa’s economy grew by a lower-than-expected 2.6 percent in the third quarter of 2010, highlighting the fragility of its recovery and leaving the door open for another interest rate cut.
The data comes less than a week after the central bank painted a gloomy picture of the economy, saying the outlook remained subdued.
Bond yields fell after the data, with the 2015 bond hitting a session low of 7.02 percent, from 7.07 percent prior to the release.
The South African Reserve Bank cut interest rates by 50 basis points last week, adding to 600 basis points of cuts since December 2008, to help boost the economy.
Statistics South Africa said on Tuesday GDP expansion slowed from a revised seasonally adjusted and annualised growth of 2.8 percent in Q2, way below forecasts of a 3.2 percent rise in a Reuters poll.
The economy expanded by 2.6 percent year-on-year unadjusted, compared to a revised 3.1 percent in the second quarter of 2010, also below forecasts of 3.5 percent expansion.
“Overall, the number vindicates the Reserve Bank’s latest interest rate decision,” said Elna Moolman, economist at Renaissance BJM.
“We also maintain our view that as long as economic growth remains below potential, it keeps a possibility of further monetary easing alive, although it is not our base-line view that they will cut again,” she added. The central bank has put potential sustainable growth at 4.5 percent.
The statistics agency also tweaked its 2009 figures to reflect a contraction of 1.7 percent from a previous estimate of 1.8 percent contraction. The economy grew 3.6 percent in 2008.
South Africa exited its first recession since 1992 in the third quarter of 2009, but is still struggling to get back to full steam, with sluggish demand weighing on key sectors such as manufacturing.
The sector contracted 5.0 percent in the quarter versus the previous three months, with strikes a factor in the lacklustre performance, compared to a downwardly revised 5.0 percent expansion in the second quarter.
MANUFACTURING A WORRY
Manufacturing is the second biggest contributor to economic growth and is crucial for creating jobs in a country where more than a quarter of workers are unemployed.
In October the Treasury raised its 2010 GDP growth estimate to 3.0 percent from 2.3 percent, but said this was still not nearly high enough to lead to major cuts in unemployment, which stood at 25.3 percent in the third quarter.
“The figures are disappointing. They are below market expectations — but even more so that the previous quarter has been revised downwards. One did not expect that,” said Kabelo Masike, Treasury economist at Eskom.
“The pain of the manufacturing sector will once again refocus attention on the external value of the rand.”
The rand has gained over 26 percent against the dollar since the beginning of 2009, increasing calls for the government to take measures to weaken the currency.
The central bank has stepped up its foreign exchange accumulation, but it and the government have repeatedly said they do not target an exchange rate level.
Pretoria Portland Cement, southern Africa’s biggest cement maker, this month underscored the bleak outlook for construction in Africa’s top economy.
“We simply do not know what to make of the construction market, which is quite depressed,” chief executive Paul Stuiver told Reuters.
. The economy grew 3.6 percent in 2008
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Nigerian militants said on Tuesday they had attacked a pipeline feeding an oil refinery in the Niger Delta, underscoring the vulnerability of energy infrastructure despite recent military successes in the region.
The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) said in a statement emailed to media that its fighters attacked the pipeline to the Warri refinery on Sunday. It said it would attack more pipelines in the coming days.
State-run oil firm NNPC has said it is repairing damage to the Warri-Escravos oil pipeline but made no further comment on Tuesday. The Warri refinery has a capacity of around 125,000 barrels per day (bpd).
“(These attacks) are a reminder to the Nigerian government of the futility of wasting the nation’s resources in combating militancy without addressing the underlying causes of agitation in the Niger Delta,” MEND said.
The authorities have claimed significant victories over MEND in recent days, freeing 19 hostages held by the group last Wednesday and then arresting the commander responsible and more than 60 of his followers.
The successes were a boost for President Goodluck Jonathan, who is the first head of state from the region and who brokered an amnesty there last year. A resurgence of violence could undermine his credibility ahead of elections next April.
The negotiations to release the hostages involved former MEND commanders who accepted last year’s amnesty.
Security experts said co-operation between the former militants and the armed forces was a significant new development which could help prevent MEND from rising to prominence again. But they also warned it was impossible to fully guard against attacks by small groups of gunmen on the industry.
EXPOSED PIPELINES, RIGS
Previous campaigns by MEND fighters have knocked out a significant chunk of Nigeria’s oil production, currently averaging around 2.2 million barrels per day (bpd), and cost it as much as $1 billion a month in lost revenues.
Oil infrastructure in the delta, a network of thousands of shallow creeks opening into the Gulf of Guinea, is extremely exposed, with thousands of kilometres (miles) of pipeline passing through remote and thickly forested terrain.
Disputes between local communities and oil firms are common, and attacking a pipeline and shutting down production requires little more than simple home-made explosives.
Shell declared force majeure on its Bonny Light oil exports on Friday after a pipeline was damaged, freeing it from shipment obligations, though there was no immediate evidence of links to militant activity.
It is also extremely difficult to protect offshore platforms such as those operated by Exxon Mobil and British-based Afren, from where 15 of the 19 hostages were kidnapped.
For such raids, the militants use open craft too small to be detected by radar. They are even able to operate far offshore by using a “mother ship”, a larger vessel which supplies the speedboats with fuel and food, security experts say.
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When we look at the effect of the incessant strike action by Labour Union over workers’ welfare in this Nation, a lot is to be said of the level of responsibility by all of us as regards the pursuit of this cause. Coming from the back drop of expectations from all affected and the impending consequence of this action on our socio-economic life in a long run, a careful analysis of the situation need be made by all and sundry especially the Federal Government. A thorough appraisal need be made with all involved without hasty decision which can boomerang in the long run of event.
The Government: The responsibility of the Federal Government concerning welfare is enormous, and whatever is the outcome of this is her responsibility, and the Federal Government should be involve in better Stakeholder management with all involved in Labour affairs, there should be a platform for continuous deliberation on how to improve the welfare of the workers in a planned setting, where concerns will be spelt out and dealt with. I sincerely appreciate the Committee put up by the President that was chaired by the VP Namadi Sambo on the Labour strike; which had B.R Fashola Governor Lagos State and former Labour Gladiator Adams Aliyu Oshiomhole, Governor Edo State South Southern Nigeria. Being the else while Labour President, he was expected to reconcile the issues on ground. Most especially as these issues are not emerging issues they been there, even while he was in Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC). Going forward the FG need to be proactive on worker’s welfare issues rather than being reactive as we have experienced in the last few days, Chief Executives of different States left their schedule for a situation that could had been easily dealt with, without noise and bickering.
Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC): The apex Labour body in the land also have an important role to play in the scheme of things, in the coming dispensation of the New Nigeria the effectiveness of the NLC will not be the ability to put up strike, rather the ability to have the welfare of workers met accordingly, other Labour interest would be guided with all energy, the Labour body should also realize that whatever counter effect comes out of any deliberation, affect primary the populace which is represented by their members. They have to seek for a platform where their concerns will be evaluated on a regular basis; Rather than wait for a showdown of strike action which usually paralyses our already struggling economy, they should seek dialogue first, although strike actions cannot be ruled out, it should be the last resort after dialogue had failed not the other way round. Many look out for change but our actions or inactions affect this Change positively or negatively. Let us look out for better options to solve this recurring issue. Like this particular issue of minimum wage had been on for some time now, a better collaboration with the FG would be better appreciated by all.
Workers:The workers also have a commitment in ensuring a sound welfare from the Government, we need to show passion, proficiency and fulfillment carrying out our duties, and no doubt we deserve to be treated with respect and appreciated while we seek to improve in the dissemination of our duties. The truth need to be told, the work force of this great nation need to improve in all ramifications, and this is the responsibility of all stake holders including the employed.
Matter arising from the strike that was called off was the refusal to pay N18, 000.00 minimum wage demanded by workers, which is fair but let us consider the implication of such action on the economy. The last time there was an increment to the present N7, 500.00 it had effect on the economy as it caused inflation, thereby causing a general increase in the price of commodity goods across the nation. In my opinion, I would suggest that the increment be done over time broken down in bits so that the economy can absorb it without much stress. We all want to be paid better, but it will only make sense when the money in our hands has value with a comparative spending power. Another suggestion is to have the Legislatures wage reviewed, let us seek for a review of their salaries and allowances as it has become the singular position for salary dispute in the country. The Medical Doctors, the Lecturers, now the whole labour force are all clamoring for pay rise. Let us all look inward and ask ourselves how committed are we to the cause of workers welfare? read more
As the Group of 20 developed countries head to Seoul for their 2010 summit from 11-12 November 2010, experts believe that the summit, hosted for the first time by an emerging market economy outside the G-8 countries, provides a historic opportunity to shape the future of the global economy, which has been battered by recent financial and economic crisis.
The impact of the crisis has been most acute in many African countries, which are not part of the G-20.
However, the decision to hold the summit in South Korea, considered as a “bridge” between the developed and developing world, leaves room to expect some measure of inclusiveness in the way the G-20 does business and that the plight of African countries will begin to receive considerable attention.
Africa is part of the economic solution to the global economic downturn. In the past, and to some extent, at present, it seemed African development issues were merely an addendum to the global economic debate by G-20 leaders. It did seem Africa is something that was dealt with once deliberations on other more important global economic issues had been concluded.
The continent has shown surprising resilience through the economic crisis. It is therefore important for G-20 leaders to see Africa as part of the global economic solution.
“Africa provides natural resources to the world, an export market for the world, and supplies its labour force to the rest of the world,” the African Development Bank (AfDB) Chief Economist, Mthuli Ncube,. said.. Noting that Africa was also integrated with the rest of the world, Mr. Ncube added hat “it would be a good strategy for the rest of the world to invest in Africa.”
“By doing so”, he said, “the world will not only be uplifting Africa, but also uplifting itself by enabling Africa to deliver on its side of economic relations.”
Only an Africa with strong, shared, and sustained economic growth would be a worthy partner in solving global economic woes.
Investing in, and supporting Africa requires the promotion of certain economic sectors identified by the Committee of 10 African Finance Ministers and Central Bank governors (C10), and discussed at the last Korea-Africa Ministerial Conference which agreed to seek cooperation and assistance at the G-20 level in the fields essential to Africa’s development.
These include: infrastructure, human resources, financial access, development experience sharing and institutional improvement.
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In recent times, Mr. President Goodluck Jonathan, had been cautioned over utterances made in defense of Niger Delta, South-south Nigeria. Looking at the possible implication of such act, it’s time to bring to Jonathan’s awareness that he is no longer Jonathan of Niger Delta rather Jonathan of Nigeria. As such, all he does, say and thinks should reflect this reality. This should be his stand at all times.
When he took over from then Governor of Bayelsa State, DSPAlamieyeseigha some years back, he was regarded as Jonathan of Bayelsa. DSP was kicked out of office in 2005 for gross misconduct and financial misappropriation; then he took over the helm of affairs being the deputy Governor. During the 2007 General Election he was picked as the running mate to Umaru Musa Yar’Adua – the Presidential election which they eventually won – by this time he was seen as the Jonathan of the Niger Delta, and the people saw him as a voice for them. After Yar’Adua’s death, he became the President and immediately the transformation started. (He is now the Jonathan of Nigeria because his office dictates so).
Now he has declared his candidature, seeking the office of the president which he occupies. For 2011, Jonathan should convince us all, that he is truly Jonathan of Nigeria not of the Niger Delta alone, as acclaimed in his comment after the bomb blast – “that my people will not …” – this to me is like a man shooting himself in the leg. Where we expect him to stand, is to declare a conspicuous allegiance to every faction in Nigeria to ascertain that their interest will be guided. He should stop seeing himself as a ‘Niger Delta President’ but as Nigerian President from Niger Delta. If not, He will continue to fight for acceptance from the larger society because he is from a minority group. What is wrong in marginalization cannot be corrected by his undue attachment to his people.
We know that his people remain his big asset but a bigger asset lies outside them and that is where his support should ultimately come from. This is the deciding factor. No one fights marginalization with margins! Solidarity is the soul of peace. Jonathan should stand for unity, preach it and act it. History will not forgive the man that refuses to alter event for good when destiny is in his hands. The way Jonathan manages the peace and unity of this nation is key to our continued existence and he has to prove that he is capable, as he faces his strongest test to remaining the president.
Jonathan should be careful not to turn his greatest strength to become his glaring weakness as he prepares to come in next year as an elected president. Let him seek the unity of all in the nation as we look critically at his ability to handle our security. The political writhe that we see today is bringing security trait, and we sincerely hope Jonathan can handle this persistent crisis rocking us as a nation. As we consciously appeal to everybody to eschew violence and pursue peace, let the president live out his primary responsibility.
Recently, Thirteen (13) containers loaded with arms and ammunitions were intercepted in Apapa. Though reports’ reaching us says the bombs were brought in since July this year, we will still ask ourselves the motive behind the importation. The possibility of violence we cannot be ruled out, as these weapons were not imported by any of the security agencies. One needs to be conscious of the possible outcome, should these bombs get to the wrong hands. Only God knows the intentions of the perpetrators. As we continue to face trying security traits, Jonathan should stand on the path of peace and unity to forestall virile coexistence amongst all. read more
Nigeria has chosen Deutsche Bank and Citigroup to be the bookrunners for its planned $500 million debut global bond, Finance Minister Olusegun Aganga told Reuters on Wednesday.
Foreign investors keen on Africa have been waiting for the 10-year bond since before the global financial crisis. Now it is due before the end of the year. It’s likely to become another popular pit stop in the hunt for high yields – and the money in that game could rise if the US Federal Reserve’s anticipated QE2 boosts global liquidity more than it boosts the US economy itself.
Olusegun Aganga, Nigeria’s finance minister, told Reuters:
It was keenly contested … but in the end these two, Deutsche Bank and Citigroup, emerged the two bookrunners … One very strong house in Europe … and one very strong house in the United States, that is how we split it.
Aganga, who used to be a managing director at Goldman Sachs in London, said there was enough interest for the country to be able to raise $1bn, but that it was not inclined to go above the planned $500m.
Other African countries that have revived planned eurobond debuts since the financial crisis receded include Senegal, Kenya, Zambia and Angola. But they are also aware that foreign investor sentiment on Africa is still more fragile than it was in, say, 2006.
Last month Aganga said he expected the yield on Nigeria’s planned bond to be lower than Ghana’s, which was trading at a yield of 5.976 percent on Wednesday. That is not far off the lowest level since it was issued in 2007.
Nigeria’s bond will serve as a benchmark that could enable Nigerian corporates and state governments to start issuing eurobonds too. It will also help set a yield reference point for Angola, another big oil producer keen to tap international investors, but one that has a much worse record on transparency than Nigeria.
‘One very strong house in Europe … and one very strong house in the United States, that is how we split it.’
Sub-Saharan Africa’s second biggest economy has said it plans to issue the 10-year bond before the end of the year to set a benchmark in the international capital market which will allow state governments and companies to follow suit.
Nigeria last month named London-based Barclays Capital and FBN Capital, a subsidiary of Nigeria’s First Bank , as its financial advisers for the bond.
Africa’s most populous nation first announced plans for the debut international bond in September
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2008, but put the plans on hold citing adverse market conditions.
(For more Reuters Africa coverage and to have your say on the top issues, visit: http://af.reuters.com/ )