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Strong political party ideology will curb defection – BMO

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The Buhari Media Organisation (BMO) says a strong ideological political party system is needed to curb defection and bring the practice to barest minimum.

Mr Niyi Akinsiju, Chairman of the organisation said this while fielding questions at Nigeria News Agency Forum on Monday in Abuja.

Akinsiju noted that where politicians were bound by strong ideology, there would be reduction in defection by self-seeking politicians even in the face of intra-party crisis.

According to him, reconciliation is the difference the BMO is looking out for in Nigeria, where political parties will actually reconcile during crisis and uphold their ideologies and foundation.

“If one belonged to a party and its ideology, where there is an intra-party conflict, they must resolve it within and not dump the ship because there is an available party elsewhere.

“Those who easily defect must be asked a question, what is the similarity in belief and ideology in the political party they are going into,’’ he said.

Akinsiju said that the association supported the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) ideology which led to its landslide victory in the 2019 general elections.

He, however, said that the BMO could not physically intervene in the current crisis rocking the party.

According to him, it is unofficially engaging with characters involved in the party.

“Although BMO’s primary aim was to support President Muhammadu Buhari because of his philosophy, we are now a part of the APC and whatever concerns it concerns us.

“With the setting up of the National Reconciliation Committee, the party’s crisis would be resolved.

“This is the reason we cannot give up on the party against belief arising from the crisis at the state levels.

“We hope and believe that the committee would move round to talk with party members and resolve whatever issues and, over time, the APC brand would actually evolve into a truly progressive brand,” he said.

Edited By: Johnson Eyiangho/Kayode Olaitan

Foreign

Cyclone Nisarga with strong winds makes landfall on India’s western coast

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The cyclone Nisarga made the landfall at Alibaug area on India‘s western coast, near financial capital Mumbai, at around 13:15 p.m. (local time) on Wednesday, even as winds up to the speed of 120-140 kilometers per hour (kmph) were reported from the area, confirmed an official at the India Meteorological Department (IMD).

TV reports showed trees being uprooted, and temporary roofs flying in the air along the western coastline areas hit by the cyclone.

The cyclone is expected to complete the landfall in the next three hours, said the IMD official. It is likely to adversely affect areas in southwestern state of Maharashtra and western state of Gujarat, as it gradually moves towards the central state of Madhya Pradesh.

People living in low lying areas have been rehabilitated in safer places, and power supplies have cut in many areas likely to be affected by the cyclone.

Elaborate arrangements have been made in the affected areas, even as several teams of the National Disaster Response Force teams have been deployed to carry out the relief and rescue work. Indian Army and Indian Navy personnel have been kept on standby, said official sources.

“With the cyclonic storm Nisarga brewing in the Arabian Sea, all teams have been put on alert and are in readiness to respond to any requirement of Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief during the storm period,” said the Indian Navy in an official statement.

This is the second successive cyclone to hit India in two weeks. Earlier, super cyclone “Amphan” had hit the eastern coastal areas on May 20, affecting several districts in the states of Odisha and West Bengal, leaving behind a tale of devastation.

According to media reports, cyclone Nisarga is less devastating as compared to Amphan.

(XINHUA)

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Foreign

10 killed, 28 injured in strong winds across Myanmar in 2 months

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Ten people were killed and 28 others injured in strong wind assaults across Myanmar in nearly two months, a government offical told Xinhua on Tuesday.

Since April 9, Kachin state and Magway region suffered the most casualties due to the strong winds, said Phyu Lei Lei Tun, director of the Disaster Management Department under the Ministry of Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement.

During the nearly two-month period, 987 houses and six religious buildings were destroyed by the strong winds while 13,121 houses and 247 religious buildings were unroofed, she added.

It was learnt that the ministry has provided humanitarian assistance to the disaster-hit victims.

Also, people are urged to take precautionary measures against strong winds and hailstorms in the pre-monsoon months of March, April and May in the country.

(XINHUA)

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Economy

COVID-19: Nigerian-British bilateral relationship remains strong – envoy

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The Nigerian-British Chamber of Commerce (NBCC) has commended Nigeria’s commitment to the removal of fuel subsidy, tackling  forex regime and reforming the power sector.

The British Deputy High Commissioner to Nigeria, Ms Harriet Thompson, made the commendation  in a report  on Thursday.

The report made available to newsman in Lagos stemmed  from the Bilateral Trade Webinar with the theme: ”Nigerian-British Bilateral Relationship Post COVID-19”.

Thompson said that the focus of the British Government in Nigeria was to  support economic development and grow the private sector which, she noted, had become more relevant to ameliorate the impact of COVID-19.

She, however, noted that in spite of the steady rise of Nigeria in the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business Index, nagging issues still existed.

The envoy listed the issues to include movement of goods to and from ports and within the country, access to foreign exchange, bureaucracy and land registration.

The deputy high commissioner commended  the steps the nation had taken to tackle the spread of the coronavirus which, she said, came  at a heavy economic cost.

“Allowing movement of goods within the country would help businesses and the most vulnerable to mitigate the impact of the virus.

“In addition, a great opportunity exists to implement reforms such as the Single Window which the Federal Government has committed to.

UK is also still highly active in supporting these reforms by providing technical assistance to organisations such as the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council  and other programmes that are supporting infrastructure, agriculture, market skills, and the technology sector,” she said.

On the commitments made at the UK-Africa Investment Summit held in January, Thompson said that many of the initiatives had yet to take off because of the pandemic.

“There had, however, been slow but steady progress on the collaborations including the £37 Million Growth Gateway Programme of business support services for trade and investment across Africa.

The British Government is supporting innovation and local production of Personal Protective Equipment, facilitating  understanding of the impact of COVID-19 on the technology sector and seeking ways to support the growth of digital healthcare in Nigeria,” she said.

According to Thompson, the UK Export Finance (UKEF) also provides funding for export or import of UK products.

“However, despite a recently expanded appetite for risk finance in Nigeria, the current portfolio is only about three per cent of total UKEF exposure, and UKEF would like to significantly increase the portfolio.

“This will benefit small and medium enterprises aiming to expand and diversify their operations by exporting,” she said.

Prince Bimbo Olashore, Vice President, NBCC, noted the effect of COVID-19 on the Nigerian capital market.

Olashore said that the outlook was highly positive as the stock market was dominated by companies in infrastructure, telecommunications and banking.

“The doomsday conspiracy seems to be receding, which means we are not expecting much damage.

“Nigeria’s main issue has always been diversification; Nigeria is not an oil and gas economy because this sector barely contributes up to 12 per cent to the gross domestic product.

“What we have to do is to stimulate all the other areas with an increased focus on agriculture, information technology and other emerging sectors,’’ he said.

Edited By: Kamal Tayo Oropo/Ijeoma Popoola (NAN)

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Foreign

Feature: Myanmar female delivery rider stays strong in pursuit of prosperous life amid COVID-19 pandemic

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The restriction of sit-in dining at the eateries across Myanmar during the COVID-19 pandemic have let food delivery services ride the waves since a couple of months ago.

Khin Min Shin is one of the risk-takers who want to challenge things in life while making a living.

It has been more than three weeks since Khin joined the riders’ team of the foodpanda, an international food delivery chain, the first step of her into the world of unsung heroes for the food lovers of Yangon.

Almost the whole day riding on her bike does not make Khin worried about being infected by the virus. “I’m not afraid of being infected, but afraid of bringing the virus home and get my family infected. So, I‘m taking a good care of personal hygiene,” Khin told Xinhua.

Although some delivery companies have introduced contactless payment system, the system has not been broadly used by the customers and most customers are still relying on a cash-on-delivery system in the country.

“I try my utmost to follow health measures like physical distancing or using hand sanitizer while delivering meals to the customers,” Khin said.

The couriers like Khin have been boosting their energy to work hard in pursuit of prosperous life by staying strong against the crisis which the country is facing.

Khin Min Shin rides 14 to 17 routes daily depending on the orders made by the stay-at-home yangonites.

Taking a break from her trainee life at one of the upscale hotel chains in Yangon, Khin, 20, debuted as a female delivery rider earlier this month, inspired by her aunts who are also running some small delivery services.

“Extent of exhaustion is, of course, different if I have to compare my current rider life and pervious job. But, riding a bike isn’t unfamiliar with me and that’s what I love to do,” Khin recounted her previous hotel staff life with riding a bike to and from her workplace.

As a young girl, doing such tiresome food delivery job does not seem to bother Khin at all. It is not gender in itself which matters, it is one’s ability to do the job, Khin said with confidence.

The only thing that concerns Khin is the traffic accident. “I am only worried that I might have a traffic accident because I sometimes get nervous and rush along with my mind being busy thinking how to deliver the order as quick as possible when the order is delayed for some reasons. It’s quite dangerous.”

“I need to make a living. Although my income is only a small portion of support for the family, still I can, somehow, support my family,” she said.

Due to her family’s financial situation, Khin gave up her childhood dream of being a flight attendant which was inspired by the TV series she grew up with, in which the characters were flight attendants.

“I will stick to this job as far as I could do, as I’m doing what I love and it could help me earn a living as long as I could work,” Khin said enthusiastically.

Being one of the three bread-winners in her seven-member family, her only dream now is to be a great supporter who can give what her beloved ones want.

(XINHUA)

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Foreign

Social media usage in Germany increases strongly due to COVID-19: association

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The usage of social media platforms by German citizens has increased strongly due to the spread of the coronavirus pandemic, according to a survey published by the German digital association Bitkom on Wednesday.

“In times of widespread contact restrictions, social media help people stay in touch with friends and family, follow public events and find entertainment and distraction,” said Bernhard Rohleder, chief executive officer (CEO) of Bitkom, adding that “social distancing becomes more bearable with social media.”

Since the outbreak of the coronavirus in Germany, 75 percent of Germans used platforms including Facebook, Instagram, Xing and Twitter “more intensively.”

Almost two-thirds of German citizens used social networks for news, according to the survey conducted on around 1,000 German citizens above the age of 16 in April.

The use of messenger services also increased in recent weeks since the outbreak of the pandemic. Some two-thirds of Germans wrote messages more frequently while almost every second person also increasingly conducted video calls via services such as Whatsapp, Threema and Telegram.

Earlier this month, a survey published by Verivox showed that the coronavirus lockdown in Germany had boosted digitalization, particularly among younger Germans.

The survey found that 40 percent of 18- to 29-year-olds in Germany used video phone calls for the very first time during the coronavirus crisis, while 20 percent had never used a webcam before.

“The use of digital services in Germany is expandable in all age groups,” said Eugen Ensinger, Verivox telecommunications expert. “This is particularly surprising among the younger generation, who are said to be living a completely digitalized everyday life.”

(XINHUA)

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Foreign

Interview: Wharton dean calls for stronger world leadership as COVID-19 slows globalization

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The COVID-19 pandemic will likely accelerate the trends against globalization as countries seek to be more self-reliant in the wake of the crisis, said Geoffrey Garrett, dean of the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.

Reversing globalization, however, will drive up the prices of consumer products and limit the growth potential for global economies, especially emerging markets, Garrett told Xinhua in a recent video interview, calling for better leadership to keep trade open and allow the world to continue to benefit from globalization.

DEGLOBALIZATION “VERY BAD IDEA”

Garrett said the peak of globalization was probably right before the 2008 financial crisis, and subsequently in the Western world, there has been a lot of pushback to it, with concerns over job losses, among others.

“I think that’s just going to be accelerated now by the pandemic and the notion that everything needs to be closer. Supply chains need to be shorter. We need to be more self-reliant,” he said, noting that this partially resulted from a shortage of medical supplies in some countries.

Some 156 export controls on medical supplies and medicines have been executed by 85 governments since the beginning of the year, according to a recent report by Global Trade Alert, a trade policy monitoring initiative.

The Wharton dean said there exists a political tendency to promote self-reliance, but it’s a “very bad idea” for two reasons in his view.

“One is that in the Western world, certainly consumer prices will be higher,” he said. “In the United States, imagine if the iPhone were actually assembled in America rather than by Foxconn in China, the price would just be much higher.”

“But on the other side, I think it’s really true that globalization has been a big growth driver for emerging markets,” he said. “I think Africa, for example, really needs more connection with the global economy, not less.”

While he understands the anti-globalization sentiment right now, Garrett said “if we look at the big logic of the global economy over the last 40 years, I really think it (globalization) has been a win-win.”

“So it’d be a terrible thing in my opinion, if we really reverse that and we reverse it for a long period of time,” he said.

In light of the anti-globalization trend, the Wharton dean said “what we need is leadership, leadership that explains to the average citizen how the global economy actually works,” so that the public doesn’t see trade a zero-sum game.

Aside from efforts from the leadership, Garrett said multinational firms, which have been unwilling to explain how their businesses really work in a way that average citizens can understand, should step up to do so.

Additionally, even if the global economy benefits in aggregate from globalization, some people are dislocated in the short term, Garrett said. “So we’ve got to think about how to minimize the cost to them.”

“I do think we need just better leadership on the global stage to ensure that we continue to get the benefits of globalization while somehow cushioning the adverse impact of globalization on some people, the kind of frictions that it creates,” he said.

GLOBAL RECOVERY COULD TAKE LONG

As countries slowly start to loosen containment measures, Garrett said he expects the global economy to take a longer time to recover.

“Part of that will be logistical. It’s just really hard, for example, to rebuild global supply chains or open them up,” Garrett said, noting that reopening the economy will be a gradual process.

“But I think the bigger element is psychological. People are going to have to be confident enough to go back to live the daily lives. And I think that’s just going to take some time,” he said.

When asked about the major challenges for global economic recovery, the Wharton dean said “the fact that demand has collapsed in this economic hibernation is just a profound thing.” However, that demand could come back, he added.

Another key challenge, Garrett believes, is that good businesses could go bankrupt because they don’t have any revenue right now, and government bailouts are not unlimited. “I think that would slow the recovery,” he said.

Despite the overall gloomy picture, Garrett has seen a silver lining. “The two obvious things to say, that technology and healthcare companies will do well coming out of the crisis,” he said, noting that NASDAQ, a U.S. stock index powered by big tech companies, is actually up for the year.

Beyond that, Garrett highlighted the potential for the finance sector, saying that the world of private equity, hedge funds and venture capital will “probably boom” during the pandemic as they did after the global financial crisis.

Looking back to the period after the 2008 financial crisis, Garrett said major governments, including China, the United States and Britain, had taken enormous actions in response to the crisis, and also had lots of collaboration and coordination mostly through the Group of 20.

“I think that kind of international collaboration has just been absent so far in response to the pandemic. And I hope we can change that,” said the Wharton dean, noting that each country’s fiscal and monetary stimulus, though strong and appropriate, has a national and inward-looking focus.

“It’s understandable for governments to want to use national policy tools to affect the national economy. But if they can do that in a way that promotes international coordination and international openness, that’s a better way to go,” he said.

CHINESE ECONOMIC ACTIVITY PICKING UP

Commenting on China‘s recovery from COVID-19, the Wharton dean said “obviously China is several months ahead of the West, and it looks like Chinese domestic economic activity has picked up dramatically in the last month or so.”

Garrett believed the problem for China now will be global demand, and

noted that 2020 is just going to be “an incredibly difficult year” for every economy in the world, including China.

However, he said “we should just never lose sight of the fact that what’s happened in China since 1978 is probably the greatest economic miracle in the history of the world.”

“Lifting 700 million people out of poverty in three or four decades is just extraordinary,” he said, referring to China‘s poverty alleviation efforts.

On China-U.S. relations, Garrett the U.S. government obviously has taken a very hard stand on technology in the last 12 months, with export restrictions on Huawei being an example.

By imposing export control restrictions on the Chinese tech giant, “we’re also hurting American firms like Broadcom and Qualcomm and Flextronics that have such strong and long lasting relationships with Huawei,” he said.

Garrett noted the world has benefited from companies like Apple, Google, Huawei being global firms, not national firms. “I hope we don’t lose sight of that bigger picture,” he said.

(XINHUA)

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Economy

ACCI calls for stronger Nigeria-India economic relations

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Mr Adetokunbo Kayode, President, Abuja Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI), has called for a refocused and stronger economic ties between Nigeria and India.

Kayode made the call on Tuesday in Abuja while speaking as a panelist at the webinar meeting tagged: “India – Nigeria Business Promotion, Challenges and Opportunities – Post-COVID-19”.

Kayode, an economic expert, noted that in a rejigged relationship, win-win situation should be the watchword.

He said that it had been informally estimated that there would be around 10 billion dollars of investment by Indian companies in Nigeria.

“Maybe very substantial part of that amount has been loaned to Indian companies by Nigerian government owned banks like, Bank of Industry, Nigeria Exim Bank, Development Bank of Nigeria, NIRSAL FUND of the Central Bank of Nigeria as well as commercial banks.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted negatively on the relationship between the two countries, especially on medical tourism, which is one of the key areas.

“Some of us attended schools that Indians were teachers. For us to move forward, we need to rejig the already existing obsolete 1973 Trade Agreement between Nigeria and India.

“In doing so, we have to bear in mind that Nigeria has several areas where it can do business with India,” he said.

According to him, if Nigeria is ready to use Indian technology then, India should also help Nigeria to diversify its economy into agriculture, mining, manufacturing, amongst others.

He recalled that in Great Gujarat gathering in 2019, it was discovered that several Indian companies were rather using Indian firms in Nigeria to carry out activities in a manner that undermined local legislations, particularly in trading in retail and distribution services.

On the challenges in the trade relations, Kayode pointed out that the absence of Indian manufacturing hubs in Africa and Nigeria, in particular, as well as intrusion into local businesses needed to be addressed to strengthen the ties.

In a remark, the Indian High Commissioner to Nigeria, Mr Abbay Thakur, said Nigeria was one of Indian’s biggest trading partners for several years.

He highlighted on some of the activities of Indian companies in Nigeria in several sectors cutting across agriculture, power, technology, automobile, health and pharmaceuticals, among others.

Other participants at the event unanimously expressed the desire to actively participate in activities and programmes that would ensure the sustainability of the already existing cordial relationship.

Edited By: Kamal Tayo Oropo/Wale Ojetimi (NAN)

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General news

Africa Liberation Day: Ex NACCIMA D-G calls for stronger bond between Nigeria, ECOWAS

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Dr John Isemede on Tuesday called for a stronger bond between Nigeria and the Economic Communities of West African States (ECOWAS) to break barriers hindering trade on in the continent.

Isemede, a former  Director-General,  Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA), made the call in an interview with  the News Agency of Nigeria in Lagos.

He spoke against the backdrop of the Africa Liberation Day celebrated every May 25.

According to him, for the smooth operations of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement, Nigeria need to understand the market terrain, and difference in trade terms across the continent.

He noted that ECOWAS had recorded successes that should be a model for the country to build upon, to proffer clear guide and understanding of the AfCFTA agreement.

NAN reports that the aim of AfCFTA, signed in Kigali, Rwanda,on March 21, 2018, was to create a single market for goods and services as well as promote intra-African trade.

“How prepared is Nigeria for the AfCFTA, do we really understand what the agreemen entails.

“Ordinarily, the agreement signed was to take effect from July 1, 2020, but because of the COVID-19 pandemic, it has been pushed forward to Jan. 1, 2021.

“For effective running of AfCFTA, there is the need to know more about ECOWAS and its activities, so that we can move smoothly from the known to the unknown market or terrain, note the different and diverse trade terms across the continent.

“Then have a plan on how to join with others on a single bloc of 1.3m consumers.

“We need to understand and map out ways to make it successful, get everyone prepared.

“Also, we should be considering the ECOWAS integration and the breaking down of the trade barriers.

“We have to ratify and identify our market, know the team in place, logistics in terms of sea port, airport, silos, standard, language experts and all of that,” he said.

Isemede faulted the research carried out on the AfCFTA as he stated: “Is Nigeria prepared?

“The research carried out was within Nigeria and you do not carry out research with the aim to sell outside.

He, however, highlighted 30 areas whereby ECOWAS had recorded successes that should serve as a yardstick.

“We are still together after 57 years, unlike the European Union.

“Even Mauritania that was out is coming back, we have a clear aim and objective of the bloc, ability to manage the diversity (Francophone/Anglophone divide) with the LUEOA that is almost parallel.

“The PTA, FTA, CET, but working hard on the following – Customs Union, Agric, Trade, payment systems, Standards harmonisation etc.

“With the new generation banks, ECOWAS funds flows, imports, exports, ATM transfers and with Fewemma on single economic/industrial policies, we have better days ahead.

ECOWAS traders are working to upscale the informal sector to legitimate transactions.

“Trade has reduced political and other tensions, helping to redistribute goods in the Sub- region, free movement of goods and services.

ECOWAS ETL is working very fine; elimination of tariffs and working on non-tariff barriers, the rule of origin is on.

“Seamless approval of goods on the ETLS and now segmented, each country  is free to work directly with its OPS members.

Standardisation bus and operations of the scheme, no visa requirements, international vehicle licence, international vehicle insurance, and international motor permit, among others,” he said.

Isemede said that the border closure against some of Nigeria’s neighbouring countries was not as a result of tension, but because Nigeria could not compete in terms of food production.

He said that if we produced enough, after catering for domestic consumption, Nigeria would still have enough to export.

“In the 1900’s Nigeria was producing more than 50 per cent of palm oil requirement and in 1960, we were producing 25 per cent requirement.

“Were people smuggling palm oil at that time? No. Now, we are just producing one per cent.

“Since we are talking about continental trade, there must be backward integration, let us produce more and then we will be able to compete with other states on the continent,” Isemede said.

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Edited By: Folorunso Poroye/Ese E. Ekama (NAN)

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Tourism

Develop creative industry for stronger economy, Chinese envoy advises FG 

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A Chinese envoy to Nigeria, Mr Li Xuda, told the Federal Government on Saturday to focus more on developing the creative industry to fortify Nigeria’s economy.

Xuda, who is the Cultural Counsellor of the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China, gave the advice at a zoom meeting, organised by the National Council for Arts and Culture in Lagos.

The theme of the meeting was: “COVID-19: Cultural Dynamism, Which Way Forward”.

The envoy, who is also the Director of the China Cultural Centre in Nigeria, noted that Nigeria had huge potential in its creative industry.

According to him, the creative industry can be developed fully by adequately funding cultural outfits to enable them groom the industry.

He said that considering the impact of the ravaging COVID-19 pandemic, Nigeria must begin to develop other sectors of its economy and diversify from oil.

The diplomat advised Nigeria to focus on fashion, film production as well as arts and culture, describing the sectors as money-spinners in the creative space.

“Nigeria has very rich creative industry.  The nation is known to have the biggest economy in Africa but this can be bigger if it can develop the creative industry.

“The industry has great potential of creating employment opportunities for youths,” he said.

The counsellor said that the creative industry was capable of saving Nigeria from going into recession, advising government to formulate policies for the ease of developing its creative industry.

An Art Consultant, Jahman Anikulapo, called for the formulation of policies that would make Nigeria’s art and culture industry to compete favourably with those in other climes.

The former Editor (On Sunday) of The Guardian Newspapers, said that in view of COVID-19 pandemic, endowment funds ought to be established for practitioners in the creative industry.

Also, the President of the Society of Nigerian Artists, Mr Oliver Enwonwu, told government to put policies in place to support intellectual property right, noting that most artists now exhibited their works online.

He said there was need to guide against intellectual theft in arts, where people duplicated art works and that there was also need to create reliable payment platforms and structures to transact businesses online.

On his part, Venezuela’s Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr David Velasquez, pleaded with world leaders to work together to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.

He said that Venezuela had produced a series of videos and books to help enlighten citizens on preventive measures to adopt, noting that the fight against COVID-19 was a fight for all.

Earlier, the convener of the meeting, Otunba Olusegun Runsewe, said that all the suggestions and observations were noted and that steps would be taken to solve most of the problems.

He reiterated that a compendium that would capture stakeholder’s suggestions and contributions toward the growth of the creative industry after the coronavirus crisis would be produced.

Edited By: Kamal Tayo Oropo/Silas Nwoha (NAN)

 

 

 

 

 

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