Tuesday, 31 December 2019

Carlos Ghosn, the former Nissan Motor chairman who faces numerous charges in Japan, is now a fugitive, after he fled the Asian nation in a private jet to Lebanon.

In a statement on Tuesday, he said he did not flee justice but political persecution.

“I am now in Lebanon and will no longer be held hostage by a rigged Japanese justice system where guilt is presumed, discrimination is rampant and basic human rights are denied, in flagrant disregard of Japan’s legal obligations under international law and treaties it is bound to uphold,” the 65-year-old former executive said in a statement.

“I have not fled justice — I have escaped injustice and political persecution.”

Ghosn escaped from Japan while out on bail, which he posted in April while awaiting trial on charges including breach of trust, underreporting his salary and siphoning payments from the automaker.

It is unclear how Ghosn, who is a citizen of Brazil, France, Lebanon, left the Asian nation.

The former executive was initially arrested last November but was released in March after spending 108 days in a Tokyo cell. He was then arrested in April on new charges connected to funnelling some $5 million in company funds to a bank account he owned before posting bail later that month.

Ghosn claims innocence against all charges.

“I can now communicate freely with the media, and look forward to starting next week,” he said in the statement.

According to Japan’s national broadcaster NHK News, the court-imposed conditions of his release in April include strict confinement to his central Tokyo residence, where a surveillance camera was to be installed at its entrance. He was also ordered to give up his passport as part of his ban from leaving the country.

Ghosn was also barred from contacting his wife and Nissan dealership executives in Lebanon and Oman, it said.

Published in World

Nigeria’s Federal Government has justified the nation’s debt profile put at $83.883 billion, saying there is no cause for alarm as the country has a debt ceiling of 25% in the total public debt stock to Gross Domestic Product (Debt/GDP), which it has operated within.

Country’s Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed is upbeat that there is nothing to worry about, but frowns at recent concerns in certain circles about the country’s growing debt, both domestic and external, with lots of misrepresentations and scare mongering.

“We therefore believe it is important to put things in the right perspective, so our citizens will be well informed: The public debt stock is actually a cumulative figure of borrowings by successive governments over many years. It is therefore not appropriate to attribute the public debt stock to one administration.

“Nigeria’s total public debt stock in 2015 was $63.80 billion, comprising $10.31 billion of external debt and $53.49 billion domestic debt. By June 2019, the total debt stock was $83.883 billion, made up of $27.163 billion of external debt and $56.720 billion domestic debt. It is therefore not correct to say that Nigeria’s external debt alone
is $81.274 billion.

“There is yet no cause for alarm. This is because Nigeria has a debt ceiling of 25% in the total public debt stock to Gross Domestic Product (Debt/GDP), which it has operated within. The ratio for Dec. 31 2018 and June 30 2019 were 19.09% and 18.99% respectively,” he discloses.

Mohammed, however, says the debt service to revenue ratio has been higher than desirable, hence the push by the government to diversify the economy and increase oil and non-oil revenues significantly.

“The government is also widening the tax base to capture more tax-paying citizens. In the face of massive infrastructural decay, no responsible government will sit by and do nothing. This Administration’s borrowing, therefore, is aimed at revamping our infrastructure, including roads, bridges, railways, waterways and power, to help
unleash the potential of the nation’s economy,” he adds.

He states that the loans for the educational sector will contribute to the development of human capital while the loans for the agricultural sector will help the move to diversify the economy.

On nation’s economy, he feels it has continued to witness a strong performance, building on the steady recovery seen since the last recession, saying that that the overall growth sees the nation’s economy growing at an average rate of 2.2% over the first three quarters, compared to 1.7% over the same period in 2018.

He explains that both the oil and non-oil sectors performed considerably better in 2019 than in 2018, as the oil sector grew at an average of 4% over the three quarters, compared to 2.4% in 2018, while the non-oil sector grew by 2%, compared to 1.7% in 2018, adding that the average daily oil production level rose to its highest in the last three years, reaching two million barrels per day (mbpd) in 2019, compared to 1.8 mbpd in 2016, and 1.9 mbpd in both

2017 and 2018.

“In particular, in the third quarter of 2019, the major growth drivers were: Information and communications,

agriculture, mining & quarrying, transportation & storage as well as manufacturing, all of which have seen considerable focus by government. In the third quarter of 2019, a total of 34 economic activities witnessed positive expansion, same as in 2018.

“The trends indicate that overall macro-economic stability is being achieved, with inflation rate steadily trending

downwards. Year-on-year headline inflation rate declined steadily from 15.1% in January 2018 to 11.9% in November 2019. Year-on-year core inflation rate slowed from 12.1% to 9% between January last year and November this year. Year-on-year food inflation rate decreased from 18.9% in January 2018 to 14.5% in November 2019,” he reveals.

Published in Bank & Finance

Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei Technologies flagged record profits for 2019 on Tuesday, despite a tumultuous year that has seen the U.S. and its allies blacklist the firm.

“Despite concerted efforts by the U.S. government to keep us down, we’ve made it out the other side and continue to create value for our customers,” said rotating chairman Eric Xu is a New Year message pushed across Huawei’s social media accounts.

Xu boasts that Huawei sales revenue will top 850 billion yuan in 2019 (122 billion dollars), representing a year-on-year increase of roughly 18 per cent.

“These figures are lower than our initial projections,” Xu admitted, adding that they “stand strong in the face of adversity.”

In 2018, Huawei’s annual revenue grew 19.5 per cent.

Huawei, the world’s largest maker of telecommunications network equipment and the second-biggest smartphone manufacturer, was placed on the U.S. “entity list” in May, blocking the Shenzhen-based firm from doing business with U.S. companies and disrupting their ability to source key components.

Washington maintains that Huawei hardware poses a national security threat to networks globally, as they could be used by the Chinese government to spy on users. Huawei has repeatedly denied this.

In his message, Xu said he did not expect to be removed from the blacklist in 2020, and cautioned that a “difficult year” lay ahead.

Published in Business

The year 2019 has delivered a significant profit for the gaming industry all over the world. The statistics show that the global video games market generated $83 billion income this year, with a forecast to reach $95.3 billion value by 2024.

According to GoldenCasinoNews.com research, mobile games represented the most substantial segment of the entire video games market in 2019 that generated $49 billion in revenue.

Mobile Gaming Revenue Expected to Grow at 2.9% CARG by 2024

In 2019, the mobile gaming industry generated around 60 percent of the worldwide video games revenue. With $16.9 billion profit, online games were the second-largest market segment. The third most lucrative revenue source was download games, which generated a $15.1 billion income.

The statistics indicate that the mobile gaming industry will continue to generate the most significant part of the video games market revenue in the years to come. With an annual growth rate of 2.9%, the global mobile games market is forecast to reach a $56.6 billion value by 2024.

China Generates the Most Significant Part of Mobile Gaming Revenue

In global comparison, most of the mobile gaming revenue in 2019 was generated in China, which reported an $18 billion profit. The United States was the second-largest mobile gaming market in the world that ended the year with $9.9 billion in revenue. Japan ranked third with $6.5 billion income, followed by South Korea and the United Kingdom as other leading markets.

Number of Mobile Games Users to Reach 1.7 Billion by 2024

The number of users in the mobile games segment reached 1.36 billion in 2019, with 36 percent of them aged between 25 and 36 years old.

 

The latest data report 18.6 percent of user penetration, expected to rise to 22.5 percent by 2024. According to the latest surveys, by 2024, more than 1.7 billion people worldwide will be playing mobile games.

Published in Telecoms

As part of Dangote Industries Limited’s commitment to the Federal Government of Nigeria, Group President/CE of Dangote, Aliko Dangote took the Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola on an inspection tour of the 35-kilometer Apapa-Oshodi-Oworonsoki-Ojota highway currently under construction by Dangote Industries Limited.

The work began in 2018, as part of a bargain between the company and the Federal Government to enjoy a 10-year tax rebate that accrues to N72.9 Billion. The road has been subject of heavy traffic flow. An initial attempt to work on the road fell apart, it was approved for N15 Billion in 2013, work on the road stopped after the 2015 general elections.

During the inspection, Fashola told members of the press, “The Federal Government is dedicated to the speedy completion of the highway to provide a lasting solution to the problems of bad roads, and gridlocks”

Previous efforts by both Federal and State governments to solve this bottleneck have been unsuccessful.


“We expect that by the end of 2020, the entire road network will be finished, you will have a road that will last for 40 years.” Aliko Dangote during the inspection said;

Speaking on Dangote Industries Limited’s struggles, Dangote complained about the congestions at the ports, the gridlock which cost the company about N25 billion in revenue between 2017 and 2019 financial year. 

Praising the quality of the road been constructed, Dangote assured that it will revive commerce around the Apapa area.  “This road will actually open up the economy. It will bring a lot of jobs and a lot of factories that have moved out will be able to move back.” 

The road is on track to be concluded before the end of 2020. This is the first attempt to rehabilitate the busy road since it was first completed in 1978. Fashola also spoke about the economic revival of the Apapa area,

“Businesses have started coming back on Liverpool Road because the road closed earlier is now back. You will see more of that.  All of the businesses that are shut on Creek Road will come back. We expect to see property redevelopment and property renewal once the road is completed.” 

Fashola also explained that the project will be creating wealth around the surrounding areas as trucks will be needed to convey different materials to the site of the construction, and also labor to help with the process. The project has also seen over 600 people directly employed.

Speaking of how President Buhari plans to bring 100million people out of poverty, Fashola explains that the economy around the construction will provide jobs and opportunities for Nigerians.

“Once the economy of Apapa returns, all the clearing and forwarding, shipping, newspaper companies and all others doing business will resume fully and the economy will bounce back.’’

He lauded the private/public partnership scheme with Dangote and pointed out that section two of the project, which was not part of the original contract was already showing signs of failure, due to heavy traffic.

While inspecting the road around the Oshodi area, Fashola had this to say


“We are at the Oshodi area now and one side has been concluded and opened to traffic and this is how we intend to continue to complete and open until we finish the entire road,”

Dangote said:  “What I can also assure you is that this road will be finished before the end of next year.’’

Published in Engineering
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