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Tentative pound rise capped as PM candidate Johnson says he is ‘serious’ on no-deal Brexit



 Dollar weakness allowed the pound to briefly scale a one-month high on Tuesday, although the risk of no-deal Brexit stemming from the Conservative Party leadership contest kept the currency hemmed into a narrow trading range.

Sterling has been supported to some extent by last week’s Bank of England meeting which sounded less dovish than other central banks; the dollar has lapsed to three-month lows to the euro and five-month lows versus the yen after the Federal Reserve encouraged expectations of a July rate cut.

Against the euro too, sterling inched higher off the near-five-month lows hit in the previous session.

Markets are increasingly concerned that the favourite to replace Prime Minister Theresa May — the Eurosceptic Boris Johnson — will take Britain out of the European Union with no transition trading agreements in place, a scenario many warn would be catastrophic for the economy

Johnson reiterated his stance, telling the BBC he was “serious” about leading Britain out of the EU on the Oct. 31 deadline without a deal if the bloc refused his demands to negotiate a new exit agreement.

“The market has become more alert to no-deal risk. If we go back a few months that risk had been almost eliminated, but it has re-emerged,” said Sarah Hewin, chief Europe economist at Standard Chartered.

She added that while no-deal did not still appear to be the main scenario for markets, “having a front-runner who has clearly stated no-deal is an option, is a concern.”

The new leader will be elected by the end of July, leaving only a few months for any new prime minister to try to renegotiate a Brexit withdrawal agreement with Brussels before the Oct. 31 date.

These concerns are preventing sterling from benefiting from the dovish stance of central banks almost everywhere else in the developed world.

Scotiabank analysts saw sterling capped “in the upper 1.27s dollar” against the dollar, predicting it to lag a broader dollar decline.

CFTC data at the end of last week showed that speculative investors such as hedge funds had cut their “net sterling shorts” by 563 million dollars, though they remained heavily short the pound.

Sterling implied volatility remains low, though one-month vol picked up to two-week highs at 6.6 vols.



FG to upgrade Metallurgical Training Institute to standard



The Federal Government says plans are ongoing to upgrade the Metallurgical Training Institute (MTI) in Obosi, Anambra to meet Nigeria’s need for vocational skills.

Dr Uchechukwu Ogah, the Minister of State, Ministry of Mines and Steel Development said this on Thursday in Obosi when he paid a familiarisation visit to the institute.

Ogah said that with the upgrade, the institute would be able standard to train youths on different skills and make them entrepreneurs.

Nigeria News Agency reports that the Metallurgical Training Institute is a parastatal under the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development.

It was established in 1981 following a bilateral agreement between the Governments of Nigeria and Germany.

The institute has the mandate to train Nigerians on maintenance engineering with the aim of fast-tracking technological development in the country.

The minister noted that one of the country’s problems was that everybody wants to obtain certificates without having the rudiments of discipline.

He added that government’s desire was to take the institute to a level where people could develop themselves and be one of the best in all institutes.

“This is what Nigeria needs, not certificates, it is now about what you can do, the skill is what we are asking for,” the minister of state said.

According to him, this is why the Federal Government want to develop the institute in terms of skills acquisition to make people acquire required competences to become entrepreneurs.

He added that the main focus of the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration was to create employment for Nigerians and to train youths on relevant skills.

The minister of  state called on state governors to send youths to the institute, adding that this would go a long way in reducing the high rate of unemployed youths in the country.

He said that government was already in the process of getting a legal framework for the institute through the National Assembly.

Dikwa also visited Igwe Chidubem Iweka the 3rd of Obosi, and thanked him for the cordial relationship and harmony that had existed between the community and the institute since its inception.

Earlier, the Igwe said that many of its youths had graduated from the institute with skills that had been useful to the community and the country generally.

He expressed optimism that upgrading the institute would help alleviate youth restiveness in the country at large.

The minister of state however, appealed to the Federal Government to consider approving grants for graduates of the institute to enable them start their own businesses after graduation.

The Igwe also said there was the need for people of the community to be given special employment considerations in the institute.

“We are happy that the Federal Government wants to effect the upgrade of the institute,

“But the institute should not only be involved in training of graduates, it should also have some grants for poor students to enable them start their own bussiness after graduation.

“I think it will be a great thing if this is done, especially for poor students.

“We have been having great relationship with MTI as host community over the years, we will want to be honored with employment opportunities,” the Igwe said.

NAN also reports that the minister of state expressed satisfaction with  the way the institute was being operated after he was taken round its various departments and facilities.

Dikwa was conducted round the school by the Acting Director and Chief Executive Mrs Biakolo Alisegwe.

The institute has a student population of over 1,000.

Edited by Ese E. Ekama (NAN)

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Why reports on whistle blowing dropped —- FG



Mr Mohammed Dikwa, the Permanent Secretary, Special Duties in the Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning says there has been a reduction in reported cases of whistle blowing due to some challenges.

Dikwa said this at a national workshop to discuss the draft bill of the whistle blowing policy in Abuja on Thursday.

He explained that some people that wanted to blow whistle were no longer comfortable with the new arrangement put in place.

According to him, the arrangement entails one fills forms as part of process to document their claims.

He said that lack of legislation was also a major challenge hindering the success of the policy.

Dikwa said that improper coordination among stakeholders was a major problem confronting the policy.

“The reported cases of whistle blowing or the tips used to come frequently on daily basis when we just introduced it in November, 2016.

“When we started, we received 2,000 reported cases monthly but it has gone down drastically.

“We have instituted some measures to avoid situation where people will come and give false information and go with it.

“With what we are putting in place now, we will make sure anyone that gives information that has to do with recovery of money is rewarded.

“The same measure will ensure that those who give fake information to undermine anybody are duly punished, ” he said.

Dikwa expressed the determination of the  present government to give the policy a legislative backing for smooth implementation.

He said the aim of the workshop was to discuss with relevant stakeholders on the draft bill on the policy.

Dikwa said that the step was taken to have a bill that would be acceptable by all and sundry.

The permanent secretary disclosed that between 2016 and 2018, N594.08 billion had been saved by the government from tips, adding that 50,000 ghost workers were removed from payroll.

He said within the period under review, 800 staff involved in collection of double salaries and 400 personnel who left civil service and still collecting salaries for two years were discovered.

Edited by Dorcas Jonah/Ese E. Ekama (NAN)

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Exhibition: Local producers of beauty products pledge to strengthen other micro businesses



Some producers of locally made beauty products on Thursday said they were ready to help other micro entrepreneurs to improve and earn more in their businesses.

They spoke with the Nigeria News Agency in Lagos at the ongoing Beauty West Africa Exhibition and Conference, organised by the BtoB Events.

The Founder of Timoje by Risi, Mrs Risi Yusuf told NAN that the acceptance of locally made body and hair care products had made her to remain focused  on the business

The producer said that the organisation was at the programme in order to contribute its quota to the development of Micro, Small and Medium-scale Enterprises (MSMEs).

“I started this line of business a year ago, but I must say that it is like we have been in business for over five years.

“Nigerians now love the natural heritage God blessed us with, they prefer using local and natural products like ‘ori’ (shear butter), blacksoap and others which we produce.

“We are here at the exhibition to see how we can partner with other micro businesses and help them start their own beauty line.

“They can be distributors of our products and earn money,” Yusuf said.

The Chief Executive Officer, Shade Crown Beauty Line, Mrs Adeboyeji Ero, said that introducing new products to Nigerians was a difficult task.

Ero said that she had to partner with makeup artists to use her beauty products for clients and later endorse the quality of the product.

“We did not start out with our product line, Shade Crown was rolled out this year and what we have done is to partner with makeup artists to use our products.

“I was a makeup artist before I ventured into selling and producing beauty products. So, I know a lot of makeup artists.

“We produce powders, foundation, glitters, lipsticks among others and it has been a wonderful experience,” she said.

Ero also said that distributors were welcome at a very affordable investment of a minimum of N10,000 to start their business, which would be lucrative.

NAN reports that Lindoris Resources Ltd. was open to partner international brands at the exhibition.

Mrs Doris Nkan, Chief Executive Officer, Lindoris Resources Ltd., urged the federal government to ensure policy that would ease the process of exporting locally-made products.

Nkan said that the company, producer of skincare and haircare products based in Calabar, was ready to have distributors across the country.

She said  that having more distributors was necessary, especially now that importation of some products was being restricted.

Nkan said that it would also provide job opportunities for youths who want to be self reliant.

NAN reports that the 2019 Beauty West Africa Exhibition, which started on Wednesday will end on Friday at the Landmark Events Centre.

The exhibition has over 200 international and local exhibitors from five continents and has attracted no fewer than 1,000 visitors.

The events is co-sponsored by Lyla Blanc and Cantu Shea Butter, while the official conference partner is Compass Consulting.

Edited by Olawunmi Ashafa/Oluwole Sogunle (NAN)

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Consumer Protection Commission emerges 3rd best in ease of doing assessment —  report



The Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC), has emerged the third-best performing agency of the Federal Government in the ease of doing business assessment of Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs).

A statement issued in Abuja on Thursday by the management of the commission, said the assessment period was between June 2017 and May 2019.

The commission noted that the assessment was contained in the 2019 Compliance Report on Executive Order (EO1) released recently by the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC).

It said the key indicators for the assessment were transparency and efficiency.

It quoted Mr Babatunde Irukera, the Chief Executive Officer of the commission as saying “the assessment was encouraging, humbling and challenging as it recognised the positive treatment of consumers.

“This is a testament to what is possible when all work together to focus on and prioritise what is really most important and the greatest asset of this country, its people.

“I call on staff of the commission to strive not only to be the best performing nationally, but to be internationally regarded,’’ he said.

Nigeria News Agency reports that PEBEC was set up in July 2016 by President Muhammadu Buhari, to remove bureaucratic constraints in doing business in the country.

The council is an inter-governmental and inter-ministerial one, chaired by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.

Other members include 10 ministers, Head of Service of the Federation, Governor of CBN, representatives of Lagos and Kano State government, the National Assembly and the private sector.

Edited by Ese E. Ekama (NAN)

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Nigeria imports $600m cassava derivatives annually–CBN



Mr Godwin Emefiele, the Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) says Nigeria imports cassava derivatives valued at about 600million dollars annually.

Emefiele disclosed this at a meeting With State Governors of Cassava Producing States in Abuja on Thursday.

The Nigeria News Agency reports that CBN also signed Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Nigeria Cassava Growers Association and Large Scale Cassava Processors at the event

He explained that the country was  blessed with several varieties of cassava that could be explored to optimum potential.

He however pointed out that there was need to adopt improved varieties and practices that would  guarantee better yield, better processing efficiency, increased profit and improved standard of living for the farmers.

“In achieving this goal, we are  holding consultations with the International Institute for Tropical Agriculture (IITA), Ibadan and the National Root Crops Research Institute, Umudike.

“Apart from foreign exchange conservation, increasing cassava production is a necessity as starch, glucose, sorbitol and other products currently being imported.

“Statistics show that out of the 53.0 million metric tonnes of cassava produced in Nigeria annually, more than 90 per cent  is processed into food for human consumption.

“Whereas a significant industrial demand exists for the output of processed cassava, primarily as substitute for imported raw materials and semi-finished products.

“Potential demand that exists in our cassava value chain, demand for High Quality Cassava Flour (HQCF) in bread, biscuits and snacks  is above  500,000 tonnes annually while supply  is below 15,000 tonnes.

“Demand for cassava starch is above 300,000 tonnes annually while supply is below 10,000 tonnes” he explained.

According to him, the demand for cassava-based constituents in sugar syrup is above  350,000 tonnes annually while supply is almost nonexistent.

He added that potential demand for ethanol in the country as a fuel for cooking, to power vehicles (E10), and other industrial uses exceeded one billion litres, while production was nearly zero.

Emefiele noted that CBN was taking bolder steps in collaborating with the private sector, State Governments in Nigeria’s cassava producing areas and other stakeholders towards resuscitating the cassava sector.

edited by Sadiya Hamza

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ITC commends Africa on AfCFTA initiative



The International Trade Centre (ITC) has commended the African Union on the establishment of Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).

The Executive Director of ITC, Ms Arancha Gonzalez, gave the commendation on Thursday during the opening ceremony of the World Export Development Forum (WEDF).

She stated that Africa came up with the AfCFTA initiative at a time when there was a thick cloud over trade in many other parts of the world.

The WEDF is holding on margins of the 2019 Africa Week in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

According to Gonzalez, these are difficult times as protectionism is on the rise.

She said unilateralism was also on the rise, resulting in reduced trade growth, reduced foreign investment flows and reduced business confidence.

Gonzalez added that uncertainty had resulted in lower growth prospects for all regions around the world.

“Africa is sending a different message.

“After decades of market fragmentation, the continent has embarked on creating the largest integrated trade and investment zone in the world.

“This positive development in Africa comes at a turbulent time for the world.

“The digital, social and ecological revolutions are transforming how we produce, trade, and consume,” she said.

Gonzalez explained that each of these revolutions has a bearing on how Africa trades with the world; and with itself.

According to her, each will affect the future of African business, especially micro, small and medium-sized enterprises that make up over 90 per cent of firms.

She explained that the global value chains were enabled by the communication and transport revolution of the last two decades.

Gonzalez added that automation and 3D printing is set to change manufacturing patterns.

The ITC boss said profound digital transformation of economies – from blockchain, artificial intelligence and big data – has only just begun.

“For consumers, e-commerce is changing the day-to-day way we shop, dress and eat.

“Digitization is a great wave that touches everything. And Africa must ride this wave.

“As well as being a continent of traders from ancient times to today, nowhere in the world are people as in tune with nature’s bounty than in Africa.

“Climate change, pollution and threats to biodiversity put all that at risk,” she said.

Gonzalez also stated that sustainability must be an integral part of any decision made on trade, growth and development.

She said businesses needed to build resilience, mitigation and sustainability into their calculations.

According to her, regulations and policies need to find the sweet spot of supporting growth, while investing in the planet.

Gonzalez said companies, these days, were unlikely to achieve long-term economic success without taking into account environmental factors.

She added that mass movements inspired by young people have gone global.

“We see more and more people mobilizing to address injustice. This is part of a broader social revolution.

“Many are motivated by questions of economic inequality, a sense that prosperity is futile if it leaves people behind.

“Here, Africa must ensure market opening is inclusive. It is the only way to achieve the UN 2030 Agenda,” she said.

She said inclusivity also meant empowering women and young people to participate in open trade.

The Nigeria News Agency reports that the ceremony was attended by Ethiopia’s Minister of Trade and Industry, Mr Fetlework Gebre-Egziabher.

AU Commissioner for Trade and Industry, Mr Albert Muchanga, and others were also in attendance.

Gonzalez added that inclusivity also meant building partnerships; commercial, public-private partnerships.

Globally, ITC has estimated that increasing annual investments in small and medium-sized enterprises by $1 trillion would yield dividends in delivering the UN Sustainable Development Goals and healthy returns for investors.

NAN also reports that close to 300 companies are taking part in the ITCs B2B matchmaking sessions, which have been extended till Friday.

Also, close to 100 investors are also in the capital of Ethiopia, discussing investment opportunities.

Edited by Wale Ojetimi (NAN)

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