South Africa’s unemployment rate rises to 27.6% in Q1



South Africa’s unemployment rate rises to 27.6% in Q1



Statistics South Africa said in its quarterly labour force survey that there were 6.2 million people without jobs in the three months to the end of March, compared with 6.1 million people in the previous quarter.



EFCC, maritime stakeholders, others collaborate in fight against corruption



The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), maritime stakeholders and other institutions on Monday took to the streets of Lagos to say no to corruption in the country.

Maritime stakeholders that took part in the street walk are Nigeria Shippers Council (NSC), Nigeria Ports Authority (NPA) and the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA).

The Censors Board, National Union of Road Transport Workers and members of the National Youth Service Corps also took part in the walk, which was in commemoration of the International Anti-Corruption Day with the theme,”Zero Tolerance to Corruption”.

They were seen bearing placards with inscriptions such as ‘Wipe corruption off your hand’, ‘Zero tolerance to corruption’, ”Say no to corruption, it is an illness”.

The Executive Secretary of NSC, Mr Hassan Bello, said that the council had instituted a Standard Operating Procedure to fight corruption and ensure that people were not taken advantage of.

Bello, represented by Mr Samuel Vongtau Director, Legal Services of NSC, called for collaboration in the fight, as it concerns everyone.

Today is a very important day for us all, and we hope that this walk has reached out to a larger number of people in the country, as we know that corruption is a major problem that we face.

NSC, as one of the agencies that ensures that things are done in the right way, has made its processes automated to ensure transparency,” he said.

He said that NSC had been in the vanguard of anti-corruption and had since 2001 established a monitoring committee which performed similar function.

Mr Mohammed Rambo, Zonal Head of EFCC, charged everyone to come together to fight corruption, describing the task as a collective responsibility.

According to him, anywhere one is, he is an ambassador and a crusader to make Nigeria great again.

Our individual and collective resolve must foster attitudinal change, we should shun the acquiring of illicit wealth and embrace values that will lead to accountability and transparency at all levels.

All stakeholders should support the commission to break this chain of corruption in the country; it is our collective responsibility to take Nigeria out of the woods,” he said.

Ms Hadiza Bala-Usman, Executive Director, NPA, said that awareness had been created and all parties should come together to fight the cankerworm that was eating deep into the country.

I believe that what is needed is for us to work together, strengthen collaboration, and be united to fight corruption out of the country.

For us to achieve this, we need to be transparent and accountable across board in all our operations and with whoever we are dealing with,” she said.

Bala-Usman said that civil societies had a strong role to play, as everyone had capacity to bring to the table and everyone must stand on the fact that corruption was not acceptable anymore.

Mr Victor Uwazulike, Director Internal Audit, NIMASA, urged everyone to be responsible in the place of work.

He said that delaying papers and work was a form of corruption.

We are in support of what is going on today as the agency has zero tolerance for corruption.

If one does his work very well, all this big grammar will not come to be; if papers come to your table, immediately treat it; give a customer attention when need be,” he said.

Uwazulike said that in the agency, an anti-corruption and transparency unit exists and is very active in checkmating illegal activities.

Edited by: Oluwole Sogunle

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Anti-Corruption Day: SERDEC urges citizens to hold leaders accountable



The Socio Economic Research and Development Centre (SERDEC), on Monday urged Nigerians to act responsibly, hold leaders accountable and take collective action against corruption.

Mr Tijani Abdulkareem, Executive Director of SERDEC, made the call at a news briefing in Lokoja after launching a campaign, tagged: ”#CorruptionNotMyDNA” to mark the 2019 International Day of Anti-Corruption.

NAN reports that the campaign with kick started with a Rally, tagged: ”’WorkOUT Corrupt Behaviour”, is aimed at mobilising citizens to frown against behaviours, practices, attitudes, social norms and values that promote corruption.

Abdulkareem said that the campaign was organised by SERDEC in partnership with African Network for Environment and Economic Justice (ANEEJ).

He called for collective action as part of global efforts to  ensure  united effort against corruption and galvanising effective citizen participation in the fight to curb corruption in our society.

”Tackling corruption is a collective responsibility and citizens should take the lead.

”Corruption denies millions of people around the world the prosperity, rights, services and employment which they desperately need and deserve. When corruption prevails, development is threatened,” he said.


”Most times, we see corruption as act perpetuated only within the circle a government.No, we are all indicted when we refuse to be responsible and hold our leaders accountable.

”We are all affected when we promote favouritism, tribalism, religious bias, bribery and pressurise our kinsmen occupying public position with dishonest demands.

”This leads to looting of the perceived national cake and we are all victims of bad road, insecurity, poverty, unemployment, bad leadership an infrastructural deficit which are the outcomes of corrupt societies.

He, therefore, advised citizens to stay #UnitedAgainstCorruption,  and change the narrative through change of behaviour that discouraged corruption. ”It is time to fight it with discipline, transparency, integrity and accountability.

SERDEC also urged government to mandate all schools in Nigeria to adopt anti-corruption code of conduct that would serve as a guiding tool for young people and regulate corrupt behaviours within the nation’s institutions.

”Fighting corruption is, therefore, not only an aim in itself but also the most effective way to ensure sustainable development and a better future.

”Together, lets neutralise the genetic code (DNA) of corruption in our society”.

Stakeholders at the meeting include: various NGOs, NOA, students, religious organisations, parents, media organisations, among others.

Pastor Ibitoye Jacob, CAN representative, lamented the recent rating of Kogi as the most corrupt state in Nigeria by National Bureau of Statistics, and urged the religious leaders to go back to the drawing board.

On his part Alhaji Isa Adeboye, a representative of Jama’a tu Nasril Islam (JNI), advised the youths to shun politics and find something tangible to do, stressing that “politics is not a career.“

A guest speaker, Mr Olushola Babalola, presented a paper entitled: ”Promoting Behavioural Change In Addressing Corruption in Nigeria: Roles of Social Norms, Attitudes and Values”.

Babalola urged government to advance the use of anti-corruption agencies such as ICPC, EFCC to proactively investigate corrupt practices with appropriate sanctions.

Edited by: Dada Ahmed

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Group lists major causes of financial inclusion gender gap



Enhancing Financial Innovation and Access (EFInA) has identified low level of education, income and lack of trust for Financial Service Providers (FSPs) as major causes of gender gap in financial inclusion in Nigeria.

Ms Ashley Immanuel, Head of Programme, EFInA disclosed this while presenting a report on Assessment of Women’s Financial Inclusion in Nigeria at the EFInA’s 2019 Financial Inclusion Conference held in Lagos on Monday.

The conference had the theme: ”Unlocking the Potential in Every Nigerian: The Path to Inclusive Economic Growth”.

EFInA is a financial sector development organisation established in 2007, aimed at promoting financial inclusion in Nigeria.

The research, based on which the report was presented, was done in collaboration with the Central Bank of Nigeria.

Over the past ten years, the financial inclusion gender gap has been persistent and has even grown slightly, and so we did a research to really understand why that gender gap still exists and ways to address it.

We found that a few key factors emerged as key for financial exclusion, which are income, education and trust in financial service providers, and those were significant for both men and women.

We also noticed that because women tend to have lower levels of education, income and trust for financial service providers, it contributed to the gender gap in financial services.

A gender gap was also noticed when we looked at formal or regulated financial services like bank accounts which really means that providers like banks are not reaching women as well as they are reaching men,” she said.

Immanuel said that three other factors; adult women that are single, those that do not own mobile phones and also those in the south versus north, contribute to the financial inclusion gender gap.

She pointed out that National Financial Inclusion Strategy (NFIS) launched in 2012 was to reduce financial exclusion to 20 per cent of the adult population, but, according to the revised NFIS, Nigeria was not on track to achieve its 2020 target.

The head of programme said that the financial exclusion stands at 36 per cent for women and 24 per cent for men and the relative gender gap to financial inclusion was 20-30 per cent.

She said that in contrast, comparator countries in Africa such as Kenya, South Africa, Tanzania and Uganda all exhibit decreasing gender gap, but unfortunately Nigeria’s gap represents a major issue to be resolved if the country was to achieve its set target in NFIS.

She noted that the lack of income, education and trust in FSPs accounts to 60 per cent gender gap in financial inclusion.

Immanuel pointed out that the Central Bank of Nigeria and EFInA are well placed to guide and manage the financial inclusion ecosystem and generate the knowledge required to address the gender gap.

She said that their overarching recommendation was to build demand by prioritising activities and interventions that would increase women’s level of income, education and trust in FSPs.

Immanuel said that identifying appropriate pathways towards commercial viability with or without improvement in income, education or trust in FSPs would require analysis of capacity building priorities and policy gaps.

She urged informal financial services providers on the need to be improved to overcome their downsides, as long as they continue to play a key role in meeting financial needs.

The head of operations said that the report presents a clear call to achieve gender equity by helping women access and use financial services to create and sustain economic opportunities, reduce poverty and build financial resilience.

She said that from the findings, the profile of the excluded women are marginalised polygamous wife, anxious early bride, stoic widow, ambitious micro trader and entrapped farmer.

“Financial inclusion will increase when we attract the population that save at home, so the need to act fast,” she said.

Edited by: Oluwole Sogunle


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Libya NOC declares force majeure on Mellitah crude oil loadings – Sources



Libya National Oil Corp (NOC) declared force majeure on loadings of Mellitah crude oil after the El Feel oilfield shutdown last week, six industry sources with knowledge of the matter said on Monday.

The 73,000 barrel per day El Feel oilfield contributes to Libya’s Mellitah crude oil blend along with condensate from the Wafa field.

El Feel was taken offline on Dec. 5 after a valve on the pipeline to Mellitah export terminal was blocked.

The field is operated in a joint venture between NOC and Italy’s Eni.

Edited by: Abdullahi Mohammed/Sadiya Hamza


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Harmattan: Jos warm clothes dealers hike prices



  Dealers of second hand warm clothing in Jos have increased prices of their wares, taking advantage of the high demand for the goods occasioned by the onset of the harmattan cold.

A correspondent of the Nigeria News Agency gathered from markets in the city on Monday that the prices of most second hand clothings have doubled.

NAN reports that temperature in the city has fallen to as low as 11 to 12 degrees Celsius in the night, and rises to between 19 and 20 degrees Celsius in the morning.

It was gathered that the prices of warm clothing’s such as cardigans, head warmers, jackets, hand gloves and pantyhose have been hiked.

Some of the traders who spoke to NAN attributed the hike to the closure of the nation’s land borders, while others blamed it on the coming of the harmattan cold.

Mallam Iliya  Maichibi,  a dealer in head warmers at the Terminus market, Jos, said that the prices of the items had risen due to demand for them as a result of the  harmattan.

Mr Amos Chigozie, another dealer in second hand winter jackets, hand gloves and head warmers at Dilimi junction, also attributed the hike in price to high demand.

According to Chigozie, he started witnessing high patronage from customers from the last week of November.

He said “with the increased harmattan cold, since the last week of November, the patronage has doubled.

‘`I enjoy high patronage with the onset of the harmattan, business has been very good, in fact I opened two bales of clothing daily’’.

Mr Hassan Shuaibu, who sells second hand ladies panty hose, Turtlenecks, trousers and blankets, said the business was booming.

Shuaibu said that the demand for items was very high and the main dealers of the bales had hiked the prices since the business of warm clothing was seasonal.

Also, Mr Abdullahi Usman, a trader in second hand warm clothes at the Terminus market, attributed the hike to the closure of the nation’s land borders.

Usman said that a bale of clothes which was sold for N150, 000 before the closure of the borders, now cost N200, 000.

He denied allegations by customers that the prices were doubled due to the onset of  the harmattan.

He further said that the normal wears had their prices hiked as the prices of the bale in general had gone up.

Similarly, Malam Saidu Danbaba, a dealer in leggings and pantyhose, said that a pair of pantyhose that cost N300 depending on its grade, now cost N500.

Danbaba attributed the hike to the closure of the borders which made it difficult to have access to the bales.

Mr Ebube Destiny, a buyer of the second hand warm clothing, decried the hike in the prices, describing it as unfair.

Similarly, Mrs Peace Bitrus, another customer, who said she was in the market to purchase warm clothes for her kids, condemned the sellers for taking advantage of the high demand to hike the prices.

Edited by: Chinyere Bassey and Abdullahi Yusuf



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As petrol prices rise, more Egyptians convert to duel-fuel vehicles



  The number of Egyptians switching to duel-fuel vehicles is accelerating as the government pushes motorists to use cheaper, cleaner and plentiful natural gas.

About 300,000 vehicles, mostly taxis and minibuses, have been converted to duel-fuel systems since the 1990s — a small fraction of the 11 million vehicles licensed in the country.

But authorities are encouraging more drivers to switch by subsidising vehicle conversions, keeping Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) prices low, and building CNG fuelling stations and conversion plants.

Nearly 32,000 vehicles were converted during the financial year from July 2018 to June 2019, two petroleum ministry officials said.

The target for this financial year is 50,000 vehicles. That compares with just 6,000 conversions in 2015/16.

Officials say the number of private cars converting is rising.

They hope this will soften the blow of petrol price hikes after recent subsidy removals, as well as reducing pollution and cutting the import bill for liquid fuels.

Egyptians have seen steep increases to fuel prices since 2014, with most energy prices brought up to international levels under a three-year, IMF-backed reform plan completed this year.

But gas has remained cheap compared with liquid fuels.

One cubic meter of CNG costs 3.5 Egyptian pounds, roughly the equivalent of one liter of diesel at 6.75 pounds or one liter of 80-octane petrol at 6.5 pounds.

The ministry of petroleum has maintained an appropriate price so that natural gas always stays at 50 per cent of the 80-octane petrol (price), which encouraged drivers to turn to conversion,” said Abdelfattah Moustafa Farahat, head of Egyptian International Gas Technology GASTEC.

Private cars now make up 30% of conversions, Farahat said.

Officials say a boom in natural gas production and exploration since the discovery of the giant offshore Zohr gas field in 2015 spurred them to act. Egypt became self-sufficient in natural gas in late 2018.

The discovery of Zohr field and achieving self-sufficiency in natural gas have encouraged the state to think: why don’t we use this gas as a domestic fuel and work to expand its use,” said ‭‭‭‭Ayman Shalaby, assistant vice chairman at Egyptian Natural Gas Holding Company (EGAS).

GASTEC is one of two state-run companies, along with Natural Gas Vehicles Company (Car Gas), that dominate the sector. Private and foreign companies have also entered the market the past few years.

GASTEC plans to set up 54 new duel-fuel stations with CNG over the next three years, in partnership with Italy’s Eni, as well as building more fuelling stations for public buses, Farahat said. Currently, Egypt has 187 CNG fuelling stations and 72 conversion centers.

The government also has a plan for minibuses, a common form of cheap transport across Egypt.

Under the scheme, 142,000 minibuses would be converted and another 88,000 old diesel minibuses replaced with biofuel equivalents over the next three years, while more than 350 fuelling stations would be built.

Motorists gave the duel-fuel system mixed reviews. Some praised cost savings on fuel, but complained of reduced power or luggage space.

Officials say conversions are preceded by technical checks and the cylinder size and shape can be adapted to the vehicle.

The government is subsidizing and providing low-interest installment plans for conversion systems, which cost 5,000-7,500 pounds (310-465 dollars), as well as encouraging assembly plants and importers to provide vehicles with built-in systems.

Edited by: Abdullahi Mohammed/Ali Baba-Inuwa


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Saudi Aramco IPO proceeds rise to $29.4bn after option exercised



The proceeds from Saudi Aramco’s record initial public offering have risen to 29.4 billion dollars after the oil company exercised an option to sell 15 per cent more stock, an executive at one of the banks leading the deal told Al Arabiya news channel on Monday.

Wassim Al Khatib, head of investment banking at the investment arm of Saudi Arabia’s biggest bank, National Commercial Bank 1180.SE, said the state-controlled oil giant had exercised the so-called over-allotment option.

Aramco’s main IPO raised 25.6 billion dollars on Thursday.

The final number of shares sold is 3.450 billion shares, and the final value of the deal is 29.4 billion dollars,” Khatib said.

Aramco is listing its shares on Wednesday on the Saudi exchange after completing the largest IPO on record.

Edited by: Abdullahi Mohammed/Ali Baba-Inuwa

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EFCC secures conviction of 111 fraudsters in Southeast in 11 months



The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) says it has obtained the conviction of 111 fraudsters in the South East between January and November, 2019.

The commission also said that it had secured the final forfeiture of N1.5billion state-of-the-art 200 bedded hospital linked to an aide to former governor of Imo State, Rochas Okorocha.

The South East Zonal Head of the EFCC, Mr Usman Imam said this on Monday in Enugu during the 2019 International Anti-corruption Day.

Imam said that the commission had also secured the forfeiture of over N213 million and 10,609 US Dollars within the time under review and had over 230 pending cases in various courts across the zone.

We are not resting on our oars as the EFCC is not just about prosecution and conviction. We have been quite robust in our sensitisation and enlightenment mandates,” he said.

The zonal head said that the Federal Government’s whistleblower’s policy must be embraced in the zone.

This will not just help in recovery of public funds but also a means of earning legitimate income,” he said.

He said that the zone had been rubbished by high level cybercrime perpetrated by young vibrant Nigerians.

Imam said that corruption had dealt the country a big blow such that a recent report on Nigeria by the World Bank in October 2019, painted a gloomy picture of the situation.

The depth and gravity of corruption in our country can be seen in the fact that between January and November 2019, the EFCC has secured over 1, 000 convictions across the country.

The commission has recovered hundreds of billions of naira in various categories of assets,” he said.

He said that the international anti-corruption day had its history in 2013 when the United Nations signed a treaty known as United Nations Convention Against Corruption (UNAC).

Imam said that the treaty was ratified by 140 countries including Nigeria.

The treaty is in recognition of the far-reaching impact of corruption and economic crime that undermine the value of democracy, sustainable development and rule of law.

The culture of impunity and the seeming powerlessness of everyone over the years is the reason why people are being emboldened to continue in their corrupt ways,” he said.

Imam said that the EFCC was determined to fight corruption to a standstill in the country.

In a goodwill message, Gov. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi commended President Muhammadu Buhari for the progress being made in the anti-corruption crusade.

Ugwuanyi also commended the zonal office of the EFCC for the excellent work it was doing.

Edited by: Edwin Nwachukwu/Maureen Atuonwu



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Electricity vandals throw nine Anambra communities into darkness



Enugu Electricity Distribution (EEDC) on Monday said that about nine communities were affected by the power outage resulting from vandalism of Enugwu-Ukwu 33KV line.

Mr Emeka Ezeh, Head of EEDC Communications Department, made this known in a statement made available to newsmen in Awka.

Ezeh said the vandalism on its installation was carried out early Sunday.

He said that valuable equipment were carted away from the line which transmits to Enugwu-Ukwu, Abagana, Ukpo and Nimo 11KV feeders.

He said the communities affected were, Enugwu-Ukwu, Abagana, Ukpo, Nimo, Nawfia, Umuokpu, Abba, Ifitedunu and parts of Amawbia, left without electricity supply.

According to him, EEDC regrets to inform her esteemed customers under Enugwu-Ukwu 33KV line that the current loss of supply being experienced is as a result of the vandalism of the 33KV network feeding them.

This network radiates from Agu Awka Transmission Substation, Awka, Anambra.

Materials carted away include five spans of aluminum conductors, all fiber cross-arms and 33KV pot insulators and also a broken high tension pole.

Consequently, our customers in the entire Enugwu-Ukwu, Abagana, Ukpo, Nimo, Nawfia, Umuokpu, Abba, Ifitedunu and parts of Amawbia are without electricity supply,” he said.

Ezeh said that efforts were on to fix the problem and restore power supply.

He urged customers of EEDC to see protection of its installations as a shared responsibility.

Plans are on to address this challenge and we assure our customers that supply will be restored as soon as repairs and replacement are completed.

“EEDC remains committed to providing her esteemed customers with improved service delivery, while soliciting for their continued support in ensuring that such an incident does not occur in the network,” he said.

Edited by: Adeleye Ajayi

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