Below are the headlines found on The Guardian Online Newspaper for today, Monday, 9th April, 2018.

Mon, 09 Apr 2018
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has taken two approaches to deepen financial intervention in the real sector and boost economic growth.

The Governor of the CBN, Godwin Emefiele, listed the approaches as de-risking of bank lending to the private sector through a wide-range of credit guarantee schemes, and direct intervention initiatives in key high-impact sectors, including agriculture, micro-small and medium enterprises, manufacturing and power.

According to him, the initiatives are essentially to ensure the flow of credit to the vital sectors of the economy.

Emefiele said the vulnerability of the Nigerian economy to global shocks simply reflected the fact that the nation was unable to sufficiently produce what it consumes, leading to unwarranted dependence on foreign goods.

The CBN governor spoke while receiving The Guardian Economic Personality of the Year award at the weekend in Lagos.

“We depended on oil sector to provide the foreign exchange needed to finance our imports. Related to this is the poor diversification of the economy and low factor productivity in key non-oil sector.

“There is the issue of an ostentatious and elitist taste for imported goods in Nigeria. But, perhaps the most important of these factors is the inadequate finance to strategic high impact and high employment multiplier sectors,” he said.

To mitigate the adverse effects of the global shocks, the CBN embarked on a number of short- term and long-term policies, including monetary tightening to rein in inflation, and external reserves management through the restriction of foreign exchange for the importation of goods that can be produced in Nigeria.

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“So far, N393.5 billion has been released to 478 large-scale agricultural projects since inception in 2010. The CBN is also poised to disburse up to N400 billion at nine percent interest rate under the Real Sector Support Facility.

“Under the Nigeria Incentive-based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending, more than 224 projects valued at over N33 billion were guaranteed for the Federal Ministry of Agriculture’s Growth Enhancement Scheme.

“As we speak, domestic rice production has increased many folds and its imports have crashed substantially. While Kebbi State alone is expected to produce over two million metric tons of rice annually, employees at Labana Rice Mills are trying to keep pace with demand, processing 320 tons of rice a day, a 250 percent increase from the previous year.

“Nigerian economy is experiencing a cyclical upswing and consolidating its recovery. There is a fall in headline inflation from a peak of 18.7 percent in January 2017 to 14.3 percent in February 2018. There is stabilisation and convergence of the exchange rate around N360/$ today from about N525/$ in February 2017.

“There is increased foreign exchange supply with over $20 billion inflow to the I&E window since inception in April 2017; strong recovery of the external reserves, which recorded increase from just over $23 billion in October 2016 to over $46.7 billion as of March 29, 2018; and improvement in the World Bank’s ‘doing business’ indicators, with Nigeria progressing by 24 notches.

Mon, 09 Apr 2018
Despite the enormous growth and influence Nigeria’s Information and Communications Technology (ICT) sector has recorded in the last 20 years, activities of local firms remain low, making foreign firms to continue to dominate.

Currently, foreign brands, especially in the computing segment, control over 80 per cent of the market, leaving about 20 per cent to some indigenous players.

The Guardian learnt that multinational ICT manufacturers like Samsung, HP, Dell, Acer, Asus and vendors (Huawei, ZTE and Ericsson) continue to take control of the hardware market. This leaves indigenous operators like Zinox Computers, Brian Integrated Systems, among others, to battle to ensure that they are not pushed out of the market completely.

It was also learnt that about four million ICT devices enter the country on a monthly basis. This means that Nigeria continues to lose huge revenue in capital flights owing to the importation of hardware products. According to ICT experts, Nigeria remains a dumping ground for all forms of technologies, even those that are substandard.

The dominance of foreign products in ICT is equally robbing the country of the ability to develop a knowledge-based economy.

The Guardian learnt that as at early 2017, Nigeria was losing billions of naira to the preference for foreign ICT products and services.

The National Information and Technology Development Agency (NITDA) noted that within the last five years into 2020, the country would have spent about N120 billion on the importation of foreign technologies.

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In an interview with The Guardian, the Director-General, Delta State Innovation Hub, Chris Uwaje, said that in tackling the challenge of foreign domination, the country must look critically into the issue of local content development.

Uwaje, a former president of the Institute of Software Practitioners of Nigeria (ISPON), stressed that Nigeria should not remain a consuming nation, but productive and should export its products and services to other countries.

“Nigeria should not be a dumping ground for all forms of technologies, Nigerians are good intellectually, we can also export our inventions and innovations abroad, but government factor is key in achieving this objective.”

At the yearly ISPON President Dinner held at the weekend in Lagos, with the theme ‘Fourth Industrial Revolution-A Golden Opportunity”, the Director-General of NITDA, Dr. Isa Ali Pantami, said that in an effort to discourage the frequent importation of foreign technologies, the Federal Government on December 2, 2013, launched the Nigerian Content Development Initiative, which was spearheaded by NITDA with the formal adoption of the regulatory guidelines for content development in the ICT.

According to him, the guidelines codified not only the earlier circulars and policies on local content development but also delineated roles and responsibilities for stakeholders and each sub-sector in the local Information Technology (IT) and telecoms sectors.

He said the guidelines were thus developed with the collaboration of the ministry, NITDA and the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) to make provisions for the enforcement of local content in the entire ICT industry.

“The main purpose of the local content initiative and the guidelines is to ensure that Nigerian ICT companies are able to significantly participate at all rungs of the ICT value chain to create jobs, wealth and knowledge locally.

Mon, 09 Apr 2018
Former Super Eagles captain, Kanu Nwankwo has dissociated himself from the campaign for the 2019 presidency, saying he does not know where and how his name has been linked to the race for Aso Rck Villa.

Speaking in Lagos on Friday, Kanu said he was surprised to see his poster on the Internet campaigning for the Presidency, adding, “I have not in any capacity announced such ambition. I do not know where such story emanated from.

“As a Nigerian, I will be glad to be in such a position if it is God’s will. I also will make official declaration if such idea comes my way. At this point in time I am not seeking any political position.”

Kanu was in Lagos for the launch of the Ultimate Football TV Reality Show, which he was unveiled as the ambassador.

He said his desire to be part of the project was because part of the proceeds from the programme would be used to fund the Kanu Heart Foundation, adding that the Ultimate Football Fan TV Reality Show will also help in increasing the awareness of the game at the domestic and international levels.

Kanu also urged football fans keen to be rewarded for keeping abreast with the happenings in soccer and their favourite clubs to play the game with just N1000 through registering online or at the designated banks.

On the World Cup, the former African footballer of the year said Nigeria could reach the semifinals if Super Eagles coach, Gernot Rohr corrected the lapses in the team before the competition begins.

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“I want to use this opportunity to ask the Eagles’ coaches not to focus on the team’s results at the friendlies. They should realise that other countries in our group and those that qualified for the World Cup are monitoring the Super Eagles’ weak points.

“I can say the present Eagles are the best in terms of team spirit and commitment. The players are young, they have the required strength to withstand any pressure. But the team also needs experience players to add confidence in the team.”

Also speaking at the occasion, Managing Director, Soccer Rich Web Ltd, Kingsley Otiaba said the Utimate TV show’s tickets would be sold in the six geopolitical zones of the country with 36 successful fans picked to contest for the ultimate prize money, which includes money and an SUV jeep.

“The Ultimate TV Reality Soccer Show gives fans the opportunity to show passion and drive towards their clubs and players and get rewarded. After the screening, the best 12 clubs that have the highest fans would be selected with Lagos having a special preference. The game is not restricted to Nigerian fans alone. The 36 final fans selected through a well-organised screening would be camped in a national camp located in a restricted area.”

Mon, 09 Apr 2018
The Nigerian Army on Sunday said its troops rescued 149 persons in the ongoing clearance operation against remnants of Boko Haram insurgents at Yerimari-Kura community in Sambisa axis.
Col. Onyeama Nwachukwu, the Deputy Director, Army Public Relations, said in a statement that the troops killed five insurgents and captured five others in the encounter.

“Troops of Operation Lafiya Dole have continued to make progress in clearance operations to smoke out Boko Haram insurgents who escaped from their previous stronghold in the Sambisa Forest.

“On Saturday, the troops made further operational exploit into Boko Haram’s hideout at Yerimari-Kura, in a deliberate operation to extricate and rescue hostages held by the insurgents in their hideout.

“In the encounter, troops killed three Boko Haram insurgents and captured five,” he said, adding that the troops also destroyed insurgents’ logistics in the operation.

Nwachukwu explained that the rescued persons included 54 women and 95 children, noting that they were being profiled and receiving medical attention at the 21 Brigade Medical Centre.

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According to him, the troops also neutralized two suicide bombers at Mandanari community in Konduga, Borno, when they attempted to infiltrate the community on April 7.

Nwachukwu disclosed that the suicide bombers strapped with Improvised Explosive Device (IEDs) vests, attempted to sneak into the community at about 8:00 pm on Saturday.

“The suicide bombers were sighted by vigilant troops who challenged them from a safe distance. The patrol engaged them as they refused to halt and ran towards the community, detonating their IEDs.

“Only the suicide bombers were killed in the incident, while three persons who sustained minor injuries were receiving medical attention”.

Mon, 09 Apr 2018
Verve Internationalhas signed a partnership agreement with United Bank for Africa (UBA) to deliver cost effective prepaid cards to farmers under the Zambian Ministry of Agriculture's FISP program. 

Mon, 09 Apr 2018
Residents of Wesley area in Alapere, Lagos State have alleged abandonment of a government-financed drainage project by the contractor, making their community more prone to flooding and health hazards. 

Mon, 09 Apr 2018
Towards bridging the knowledge gap between stakeholders in the real estate sector and majority of Nigerians, a firm - Kigam Business Services Limited, has created a property radio programme. 

Mon, 09 Apr 2018
FCMB Group Plc has released its financial results for the year ended December 31, 2017, reporting gross revenue of N169.9 billion. 

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Mon, 09 Apr 2018
The Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Administration has stated reasons behind the suspension of further allocation of lands to residents and others. 

Mon, 09 Apr 2018
Sponsors of the Premier Skills Initiative, which recently partnered with the British Council to train 33 Nigerian coaches drawn from Lagos and Kano states... 

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