Friday, 07 August 2020
Business and Economy

Business and Economy (1024)

By Nimot Sulaimon/ PM News

Canadian gospel singer, Jonathan Steingard has said that he no longer believed in God.

Steingard, in a lengthy Instagram post, admitted that after a lifetime as a Christian, he no longer believed in God and would be leaving the band.

He goes further to explain the reasons why he came to such a conclusion.

‘I still find myself wanting to soften that statement by wording it differently or less specifically – but it wouldn’t be as true”, he said.

Read his post below:

The 36-year-old Canadian musician went on to write that losing his religion occurred over several years.

His former band ”Hawk Nelson” released a statement on Wednesday, supporting his choice to leave the band.

PM News

Posted On Thursday, 28 May 2020 12:14 Written by

Governor Godwin Obaseki has a big obstacle to overcome to clinch a second term ticket of the All Progressives Congress as the party’s big guns backed another candidate.

He is Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, from Obaseki’s constituency.

In a major move on Tuesday night, the faction that has been fighting Obaseki picked Ize-Iyamu as its consensus governorship candidate.

The faction is loyal to National Chairman of the party, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, Obaseki’s former godfather now his biggest political foe.

Obaseki and Ize-Iyamu

Ize-Iyamu, was a former Secretary to Edo State Government (SSG) and rejoined the APC from PDP last year. He lost the governorship to Obaseki in the 2016 election.

He is expected to slug it out with Governor Godwin Obaseki for the direct primary of the party slated for June 22.

He was presented by chairman of the screening committee, Senator Francis Alimikhena, the representative of Edo North Senatorial District.

The screening committee has as members a former Edo Deputy Governor Lucky Imasuen; Gen. Cecil Esekhaigbe; ex-Edo Speaker Thomas Okosun.

Others are former Minority Whip of the House of Representatives Samson Osagie; ex-member of the House of Representatives Patrick Obahiagbon and Deputy Leader of the House of Representatives, Peter Akpatason.

Posted On Wednesday, 27 May 2020 12:33 Written by

John Ofikhenua, Abuja/ The Nation

Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) grew by 1.87 per cent (year-on-year) in the first quarter of this year, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) has said.

In a posting on its website on Monday accessed by The Nation, NBS said the performance was recorded against the backdrop of significant global disruptions, resulting in sharp fall in prices and restricted international trade arising from the COVID-19 public health crisis.

It said the Q1 2020 performance represented a -0.23 per cent point drop when compared with Q1 2019, and 0.68 per cent point dip relative to Q4 2019, adding that this was a reflection of the earliest effects of disruption, particularly on the non-oil economy. In the review period, the NBS report indicated that quarter-on-quarter, real GDP growth was -14.42 per cent compared to 5.59 per cent recorded in the preceding quarter.

Also in Q1 2020, aggregate GDP stood at N35,647,406.08 million in nominal terms, NBS said, pointing out that this performance was higher when compared to first quarter of 2019, which recorded N31,824,349.67 million, with a nominal growth rate 12.01 per cent year-on-year.

The report indicated that relative to Q1 2019, the nominal growth rate was higher by 0.11 per cent points but lower than the preceding quarter by -0.32 per cent points.

NBS said in the review period, an average daily oil production of 2.07 million barrels per day was recorded, stating that the production level was higher than the 1.99 million barrel per day recorded in the same quarter of 2019 by 0.08mbpd and the fourth quarter of 2019 by 0.06 million barrels per day (mbpd).

The report indicated that non-oil sector grew by 1.55 per cent in real terms during Q1 2020, saying this was lower by -093 per cent points compared to the rate recorded during the same quarter of 2019, and -0.72 per cent point slower than the corresponding period of last year.

It said the non-oil sector was driven mainly by Information and Communication, Financial and Insurance, Agriculture and Mining.

It said in real term, the Non-Oil sector contributed 90.50 per cent to the nation’s GDP in the review period, which was less than its share in the first quarter of 2019 put at 90.78 per cent and the forth quarter of 2019 which contribution was put at 92.68 per cent.

The NBS report listed activities that witnessed weaker performance relative to Q1 2019, including quarrying, road transport, accommodation, food, services, as well as real estate.

Posted On Tuesday, 26 May 2020 12:51 Written by

Tajudeen Adebanjo/ The Nation

Nigerians on social media have expressed their disappointment over what they described as a public show of shame between the Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM), Abike Dabiri-Erewa, and the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Pantami.

Dabiri-Erewa had gone on the social media to accused Pantami of using armed men to evict the NIDCOM staff.

She alleged that she and NIDCOM staff were locked and thrown out of their office.

She said: “In one year, we don’t have an office. The office we got, given to us by NCC (Nigeria Communications Commission)…but we were actually driven away by the Minister of communications and Digital Economy, Mr Isa Pantami.

“Within two days, they drove us out with guns and what happened? The place was given to us by NCC….

“You know we all help each other, NCC as an agency of government said there is a place you can use to settle in, and just as we settled in, I was in Ethiopia when I got a call. I thought that it was a joke.

“I came back from Ethiopia on Thursday, this happened on Tuesday. By Friday, when I went to the office, guns, armed men had taken over the place. I thought it was a joke. But here is the thing, I’m a government employee, so is he. It’s government business.”

However, Dr Pantami responded on twitter by calling Dabiri-Erewa as a liar.

He tweeted: “This is a fat lie from her. The owner of the building @NgComCommission has faulted her lies on their social media platforms. The minister has never given that directive to any gunman. We need to be very objective in reporting. I have never sent any gunmen there, and I have no one.”

Responding to Pantami’s tweet, Dabiri-Erewa wrote: “An Islamic scholar should not lie, Hon Minister ( Phd). You did that to me because I am a woman. Your disrespect for women is legendary. Left the ugly incident behind me since February. But please release all our office equipment. Public office is transient.”

The public exchange of words between the duo received backlashes from many on social media, who queried their maturity in handling intra-government affairs.

Awwal Nasir said: “I wonder when political office holders will learn to settle internal government politics away from media. These tantrums displays a lack of communication and trust between them, It is really sad and shameful.”

Mazi Olayinka Danladi wrote: “I am so sorry and so sad that this is happening. Public office is indeed a very bad adventure. I hope our dear brother and Shaykh and Mama Diaspora will do their best to see that this is resolved without further hullabaloo. This isn’t good for the image of the nation.”

@sadeniran urged both parties to sheath their sword, adding “@DrIsaPantami, Why not put a call through to @abikedabiri instead of this public show of shame! You are not helping the @NigeriaGov you are both serving with this open name callings… A tree can never make a forest! Hope good reasoning will prevail…”

Nsikanabasi Umoffong said: “Make una fight tear cloth Abeg, if that will send the #GovernmentOfCrooks parking…”

Emma Umeh wrote: “Government of confusion, just imagine the disorganisation going on in this administration. It’s just a shame.”

Yemisi Fakunle wrote: “My take is this, there is something grossly wrong with the seat of power in Nigeria! Where is the Fourth Estate of the Realm? Abike is like a Minister, if not pronounced as one! How on earth can agents of the same government have this kind of altercations in the public domain?

Abu Mu’meen pleaded with the duo to take their fight off the social media.

He said: “I’ll plead with you both, for Allah’s sake to take your fight off social media forum. The only things that are being damaged here are the excellent reputations that you both have.”

Posted On Monday, 25 May 2020 20:00 Written by
Ayo Oluokun/Abuja/ PM News

The Kogi Governorship Election Tribunal has dismissed the case filed by Musa Wada, the PDP candidate against the election of Governor Yahaya Bello.

The three man panel of judges, led by Justice Ibrahim Kaigama gave its delayed ruling in Abuja on Saturday.

In a split judgement, the tribunal dismissed the petition of Musa Wada for lack of merit.

In addition, the tribunal asked him to pay N500,000 as costs to Bello, APC and INEC for his frivolous claims.

Musa Wada scored 189,704 votes to emerge the first runner-up of the November 16 election.

He challenged the victory of Yahaya Bello, who polled 406,222 votes.

Bello got the affirmation of two judges, while the minority judge, Ohimai Ovbiagele asked for fresh poll in 7 LGAs.

She said Wada was able to prove massive irregularities in the areas.

Meanwhile, the PDP candidate has vowed to challenge the judgment at the court of Appeal to seek for justice and reclaim what he termed as “stolen mandate”.

Before today’s ruling, the tribunal had also dismissed two other petitions against Bello.

Posted On Saturday, 23 May 2020 23:42 Written by

By Tsvetana Paraskova - May 22, 2020, 12:30 PM CDT

A UK judge dismissed on Friday a lawsuit against Eni and Shell brought by the Nigerian government alleging that the oil and gas supermajors knew about US$1.1 billion in bribes given to secure an oil license in Nigeria nearly a decade ago.

The judge in London dismissed the case on the grounds that the UK has no jurisdiction to try the lawsuit that is basically the same for which Shell and Eni are currently under trial in Italy, Bloomberg reported.

Eni and Shell are on trial in Milan for allegedly knowing that an alleged payment of US$1.1 billion in bribes was made to the former Nigerian government back in 2011, for which Eni and Shell secured exclusive rights to develop the now infamous oil block OPL-245 offshore Nigeria.

The 2011 acquisition of block OPL 245, according to Italian and Nigerian prosecutors, involved a transfer of money to personal accounts held by the Nigerian oil minister at the time.

The sum of the OPL 245 deal was US$1.3 billion, an investigation revealed, of which US$1.1 billion was used to bribe politicians and businessmen to secure the deal. Shell and Eni have always insisted that at the time, they were unaware of any wrongdoing.

Eni and Shell were ordered to stand trial in Milan under the Italian legislation that mandates companies be liable for crimes committed by directors and executives when a suspected unlawful conduct has benefited the legal entity.

In January this year, a key witness for the prosecution in the Milan trial backpedaled on previous testimony that he had seen evidence that Eni and Shell were involved in bribery over the oil deal in Nigeria. While the trial in Milan is in its final stages, other lawsuits are pending elsewhere over the same Nigerian oil deal. Shell, for one, faces prosecution from the Dutch authorities over the acquisition of block OPL 245.

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

Posted On Saturday, 23 May 2020 02:48 Written by

Bolaji Ogundele, Abuja/ The Nation

NIGERIA’s massive revenue loss as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic was topped discussions at yesterday’s National Economic Council (NEC) meeting.

Finance, Budget and National Planning Minister Hajia Zainab Ahmed warned that Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Products (GDP), might shrink this year to -8.94 per cent unless there is economic stimulus.

Speaking with State House Correspondents after the meeting, Mrs Ahmed, said with 40 per cent of Nigeria’s population classified as poor, the looming economic crisis would worsen their misery.

According to her, the global economy would also be dealing with the sharpest reversal since the Great Depression, as a result of the health crisis.

She added that the projected oil and gas revenue for the country, in the first quarter of 2020 suffered a 31% shortfall, representing about N125.52 billion.

“It is not news any more that these are very difficult and challenging times. We are facing a very significant economic downturn; a time that we have not seen in the history of our country.

“On the economy, COVID-19 has resulted in the collapse in oil prices. This will impact negatively, and the impact has already started showing on the federation’s revenues and on the foreign exchange earnings.

“Net oil and gas revenue and influx to the federation account in the first quarter of 2020 amounted to N940.91billion. This represented a shortfall of N125. 52billion or 31% of the prorated amount that is supposed to have been realized by the end of that first quarter.

“The economic growth in Nigeria, that is the GDP, could in the worst case scenario, contract by as much as –8.94% in 2020.

“But, in the best case, which is the case we are working on, it could be a contraction of –4.4%, if there is no fiscal stimulus. But with the fiscal stimulus plan that we are working on, this contraction can be mitigated and we might end up with a negative –0.59%”, she said.

“The Federal Government is committed to supporting the financial viability of states, including the suspension of payments in respect of commitments, debts that have been secured with ISPOs by the states at the federal levels.

“So, we have already implemented suspension of deductions of a number of loans that have been taken by the states from April and also in May.

“The Economic Sustainability Committee is responsible for providing overall strategic vision, policy direction and general oversight of the implementation amongst others”, she said.

Mrs. Ahmed assorted that the World Bank view is that the impact of the COVID-19 on Nigeria will lead to severe amplified human and economic cost, which will move the country into a recession.

“The World Bank planned a proposed package for immediate fiscal relief for the federal government. This will also involve policy-based policy budget support for the FG, focusing on measures to maintain macro financial stability and create fiscal space for proposed stimulus.

“The World Bank package has also got a proposal of $1.5billion for the states and this package will be dedicated to the states. And it will be a programme for results which the states are already used to implementing.

“So, the immediate fiscal relief for the states, as stated in the presentation, will include the acceleration of an existing programme to enable disbursement by end of September.

“So, the proposed $1.5billion plan will by end of September it would have been disbursed to the states. We are looking at an average of between N150billion to N200billion based on the plan to the 36 states. These are states that have already made some particular commitments and achievements so that they will be able to get immediate disbursements of parts of these funds”, she said.

Giving details of the balances in the various national accounts, the Minister disclosed “in the Excess Crude Account, as at 21 of May, 2020, we reported a balance $72.04 million.

“We also reported to Council that in the Stabilization Account, as at today, we have a balance of N39.337 billion. In the Natural Resource Development Fund Account, as at today, we have a balance N125.19 billion”.

Jigawa State Governor Badaru Abubakar told reporters that council received an update on Polio Eradication and support to Community Transmission of COVID-19(CTA) presented by the Minister of Health.

He said: “updates indicated that Nigeria is moving towards polio eradication and on course to be certified as Wild Polio Free by the World Health Organistion(WHO) African Region next month.

“It also indicated that no wild polio cases was reported in Nigeria for 44 months.

“The NPHCDA adopted the Polio structure which is the Incident Management System to tackle the COVID-19 at the PHCs and community levels in all the states and FCT.

“States governments, governors are urged to facilitate the establishment of structures to coordinate efforts to stop community transmission of COVID-19.

“The report of NEC’s Adhoc committee to Review Status of Ownership of Structure of Electricity Power Distribution Company(DISCOs) headed by the Kaduna State Governor was received.

“The report was delivered, adopted and now being implemented but due to the lockdown not all members have signed the report.

“We also discussed COVID-19; Council set a NEC Committee to work with the Presidential Taskforce on COVID-19 to work out modalities for the reopening of the national economy.

“The committee comprises governors of Ekiti, Lagos, Anambra, Kano, Bauchi, Plateau and FCT Minister as members and chaired by the Governor of Delta State, Ifeanyi Okowa.

Asked if the states can pay salaries as at when due is the Federal Government has suspended deductions from bailout fund, he said, “I think most of the states are paying salaries already. But we have not seen the worst yet, I may not be able to answer this question correctly until we see what comes up in the next part, that is when we expect the worst-case scenario on the fallen oil prices.

“And at that time we will do the calculation and all the scenarios will come up and that will determine whether we will be able to pay salaries or not”, he said.

Posted On Friday, 22 May 2020 12:43 Written by

Nigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari has approved the sack of Prof. Charles Uwakwe as the Registrar and Chief Executive of the National Examinations Council, NECO.

A letter dated May 11 and signed by the Permanent Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Education, Sonny Echono, on behalf of the Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu, said Buhari approved the sack.

Also sacked by the president were four members of the Management for various offences bordering on financial impropriety.

In the letter, Uwakwe was accused of violating the Public Procurement Act (2007) and pursuant to PSR 030402 and Part 1 schedule 4 (i) of NECO Establishment Act.

He had been suspended since May 2018 by the Federal Ministry of Education, the parent ministry of the agency over alleged financial mismanagement and abuse of office.

It was alleged that Uwakwe and some top officials of the council allegedly awarded contracts in the council to the tune of N25 billion without following due process.

NECO, in a release on Wednesday by its Head of Information and Public Relations Division, Mr. Azeez Sani, confirmed that the suspended registrar had been relieved of his appointment by the President, while four members of the management had also been dismissed.

“After due consideration of the investigative panel on the allegation of unsatisfactory conduct levelled against you and some management staff of the council, Mr. President in exercise of his powers, has approved your removal as the Registrar and Chief Executive Officer of National Examinations Council with effect from the date of your suspension from duty.”

The former Registrar was also directed to hand over all the government property in his custody to the acting Registrar, Mr. Abubakar Gana, The Nation reports.

Posted On Thursday, 21 May 2020 12:27 Written by

A popular US Pastor who disobeyed President Donald Trump’s order on religious gatherings and held a Mother’s Day Church service has tested positive for coronavirus.

Redwood Valley Assembly of God Church pastor Jack McMilin in California tested positive for coronavirus and was taken to the hospital after developing pneumonia resulting from coronavirus.

The pastor’s wife, Sharon disclosed McMilin’s diagnosis on Facebook.

Her post read: “I was going to post something in place of pastor sermon today but I’ve been on phone with so many people and health department that I didn’t get it done

“Just remember God is a big and mighty God, and he’s got us covered, remember Pastor Jack in the hospital with pneumonia from the COVID-19 virus. Thank you for all the prayers!”

On May 10, McMilin held a Mother’s Day service at Redwood Valley Assembly of God church.

He also shared a Facebook post of a woman holding a placard that reads: “Why can we go to Walmart but not Church!?”

McMilin had captioned the photo: “We need to start asking this more often and with greater volume.”

Posted On Wednesday, 20 May 2020 12:31 Written by

By Bukola Adebayo, CNN

Lagos, Nigeria (CNN)British media regulator Ofcom has imposed sanctions against a channel founded by Nigerian megachurch preacher Chris Oyakhilome for airing "unsubstantiated claims" linking 5G to the coronavirus pandemic.

The regulator said while it does not oppose broadcasts airing controversial views or those challenging health authorities, the claims in a sermon aired by Christian channel Loveworld News calling the pandemic a "global cover-up" posed serious health consequences to viewers.
The sermon questioned the need for lockdown measures to prevent the spread of the virus without providing context, according to the Ofcom investigation.
Loveworld was ordered by the agency to air findings from its investigation given the "serious failings" by the channel to protect its viewers during the program.
CNN contacted Loveworld News UK for a comment but has yet to receive one.
The conspiracy linking 5G to coronavirus just will not die
Nigeria's information agency also debunked the popular pastor's claim that the government imposed movement restrictions in its two cities to allow the installation of the new generation wireless technology, according to a local report.
Oyakhilome presides over one of the largest Christian congregations in Africa and the church boasts of having branches in countries and university campuses across five continents.
Ofcom said another report during the broadcast touted hydroxychloroquine as a cure for coronavirus leaving out doubts about the efficacy of the drug and potentially harmful side effects.
"However, given the unsubstantiated claims in both these programmes were not sufficiently put into context, they risked undermining viewers' trust in official health advice, with potentially serious consequences for public health," Ofcom said.
Posted On Wednesday, 20 May 2020 01:53 Written by
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