FG will reduce borrowing cost – DMO

The Federal Government will implement prudent fiscal and debt management in the coming years to reduce the nation’s debt cost, the Debt Management Office (DMO) has said.

Ms Patience Oniha, the DMO Director-General, made this assertion on Thursday in Lagos.

Oniha spoke at the listing of the FGN 30 year 1.5 billion dollars Euro Bond and FGN 10 year 1.5 billion dollars Euro Bond on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE).

Other bond listed was FGN 5 Year 300 million dollars Diaspora Bond.

Oniha said that government would rebalance its debt and international debt portfolio to 60:40 split in the coming years.

She said that government was listing some of the securities issued in the international capital market in 2017 on the NSE because of the role of Nigerian capital market in economic development.

“We have already listed N1.5 billion early in the year, and we are coming toward the end of the year to list 3.3 billion dollars Euro Bond.

Oniha said that government had assessed the international capital markets four times in 2017 and achieved overwhelming success amidst uncertainty about the perception of Nigeria.

She said that funding of the budget deficit and refinancing the government’s inherited debt portfolio had been the key drivers behind the capital raising plans.

According to her, the borrowing will lead to significant benefits, particularly a reduction in cost of funds.

She said that the Diaspora bond provided an opportunity for Nigerians in Diaspora to contribute to the country’s development.

She also said that the Diaspora bond had boosted the country’s profile with Nigeria’s first SEC-Registered debt instrument.

Oniha said that funds raised would be applied toward development and to support government drive toward economic diversification from oil revenue and to sustain momentum in tapping the international markets following prior issuances.

The director-general said that DMO would continue with innovative and diverse fund raising plans to ensure the optimal funding structure.

Earlier, Mr Oscar Onyema, the NSE Chief Executive Officer, said that the Federal Government was the largest issuer of bonds on the exchange,

Onyema said that the exchange had collaborated with DMO and the federal government to introduce other types of bonds in the market.

He assured the investing publics that the exchange would introduce other types of products that would give them good asset class to boost product diversification.

NAN

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Adamawa Queen emerges Miss Nigeria

Adamawa state queen, Mildred Ehiguese, has emerged as the new Miss Nigeria at the beauty pageant concluded on early on Friday at the Eko Hotel and Suites, Victoria Island in Lagos State.

Ehiguese replaces Chioma Obiadi who represented Anambra state.

The pageant’s organiser and publisher of The Daily Times of Nigeria, Mr Fidelis Anosike, had said that he is using the show to define the Nigerian woman.

Miss Nigeria, formed in 1957 with the Motto, “Empowering Women Beyond Beauty’’, is an annual beauty pageant show which showcases positive attributes of Nigerian women and awards university scholarships.

The winner portrays exemplary qualities and serves as a role model for young women in the country. The pageant is organised by Daily Times Nigeria (DTN).

The current title holder is a Geology student of the Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, and former Miss Earth Nigeria Chioma Stephanie Obiadi, who represented Anambra.

The journey to this year’s finale started in November when auditions were held in three cities of Abuja, Port Harcourt, and Lagos within over a one-week period.

From personal photography sessions from Studio 24, using cool photo props, there were also monopoly games and passion project activities to keep the ladies entertained with refreshments.

The auditions started at the Transcorp Hilton Hotel in Abuja on Nov. 7 with an impressive turnout of contestants from the Northern region who showed up for a chance to become the next queen.

The contestants were judged by George Okoro (Photographer and Lifestyle Magazine Publisher), Adama Indimi (CEO Reign by Adama Lashes), Ogugua Okonkwo (CEO Style Temple) and Andy Ogbechei (Creative Director, A-Squared Network).

They served as the guest judges at this phase of the auditions, accompanied by Enyinne Owunwanne (CEO, Times Multimedia – organisers of the Miss Nigeria pageant).

The team moved to Port Harcourt on Nov. 9 to receive contestants from the South-South/South-East region at the Echelon Heights Hotel, before heading to Lagos where the audition was held at the Times Multimedia, Lagos Headquarters.

From there, the 37 semi-finalists were announced in a special Instagram Live Session, setting the stage for Thursday’s grand finale.

The boot-camp ended on December 18, after which the girls went to Ilorin to meet the first ever Miss Nigeria, 86-years-old Mama Grace Oyelude.

NAN reports that in 2005, Anosike, young and bustling, took over a decapitated Daily Times and set out to revamp the vintage legacy of the publication.

He has since set his sights on rewriting the story of Miss Nigeria and graft in new chapters filled with hope, dignity, and value.

“For us, Daily Times, Miss Nigeria is one and the same,’’ Anosike said on Tuesday, shedding light on what Nigerians should expect,” he said on Tuesday in Lagos.

“The show is going to be the premier platform that the company’s products, services, and different people can use to connect to every woman.

“Every woman is a queen. What we’ve been doing over the past 10 years is to get the Pageant to metamorphose into what it should be.

“This year, we are going from strength to strength. Every state has got its own representative. And it’s also important to note that Miss Nigeria is 60 years old having been founded in 1957.

“This year, we are also able to do a proper boot-camp; all the semi-finalists met with several prominent Nigerians, including the Director-General of The National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP), who is the purpose-partner for this year’s pageant.

“This year’s Miss Nigeria will be crowned as the ambassador for Human Trafficking, and she will spend her time and energy working with NAPTIP to raise awareness about the ills of human trafficking and try as much as possible to contribute her quota to ending the illicit trade.

“We also had a couple of top women personalities who went into the boot-camp to talk to the girls.’’

Anosike said that Miss Nigeria had been fully restored to its original intent, which is to be a platform for young female empowerment in Nigeria,

“We want to use it to raise the voices of women. We believe that every Miss Nigeria will also take on these issues, raising the voices of women, especially as it relates to issues around the environment.

“We have very solid partnerships with over 30 media houses and everybody has now come to understand that this is a national pageant and not a beauty pageant,’’ he said.

On plans to balance the moral debauchery associated with beauty pageants, Anosike said about the content of Miss Nigeria that “it’s all about communication, about purpose; it is about people understanding that this is a platform for female empowerment.

“Every woman is a queen — mothers are queens, sisters are queens. This epitomises ‘queenship’. Miss Nigeria is supposed to be a role model for young women.

“What we are doing is building a purpose into the show, so, it is beauty and brains. The idea is to be able to inspire young women.

“We don’t do all those beauty pageant stuff where they go onstage and take off their clothes.

“We don’t commoditise women. Miss Nigeria has stopped that a long time ago. And that’s one of the reasons why we don’t send anybody to Miss World or Miss Universe because they go there and do all these kind of things.

“Miss Nigeria focuses on issues that affect Nigerian women; she is an ambassador of culture, of purpose, of the environment. We want her to focus on the Nigerian people,’’ he said.

The publisher of The Daily Times of Nigeria said that Miss Nigeria did not need any validation from anywhere, adding that she did not need to go outside to win anything. It’s a national brand, not a beauty brand.

“The girls have their calendars planned and we have partners that will keep them busy because we want them to have a purpose. Going for international beauty contest is a colonial mentality.

“Queens don’t compete, they reign. You can’t say you are Nigeria’s Queen and go outside and be competing with other people.’’

On the challenge in organising the event, Anosike said it was the struggle to recreate the show’s purpose.

“The basic challenge we had was to be able to recreate the purpose for which this pageant was founded in 1957,’’ he said.

“Now, we have got it right; and we know this because of the responses we are receiving. We have people entering from Zamfara; from Kano.

“It’s going to be a beautiful show. We are trying to make the show like the Oscars, so it will be a fusion of fashion, beauty and everything good about Nigeria.

“The contestants have to know about the states they are representing. We also want to use this to help to promote our history and heritage. We must be proud of who we are.

“Nigeria has come of age; we’ve seen what people have done in the music industry. That’s the kind of inspiration that we want to draw on.’’

Anosike also said that when the pageant started, then, contestants were required to post their photographs to the Times headquarters in Lagos, before the finalists were shortlisted and invited to compete at the Lagos Island Club.

He said it was the premier pageant in the country, and was a powerful medium which empowered several young Nigerian women, and inspired the country as a whole.

The pageant was hosted by Bovi, Ebuka, Olive Emodi and Lala Akindoju; and 2face Idibia is set to perform.

NAN

The Beauty of Humility — BeautyBeyondBones

There’s a perspective that you gain with time. There are things that you see when you’re out of the thick of the moment. Kind of like when the news cuts to a helicopter-view of a traffic jam. From the viewpoint of a car in the snarl, all you can see are exhaust pipes and the…

via The Beauty of Humility — BeautyBeyondBones

APC slams PDP.

The ruling All Progressives Congress has likened the opposition, Peoples Democratic Party, PDP to the leopard, which cannot change its spots.

It was the APC’s first official reaction to the national convention of the opposition party that has vowed to defeat it in the next general election.

APC National Publicity Secretary, Bolaji Abdullahi said: with “revelations of how money-for-votes and systematic rigging was brazenly perpetuated during the National Convention of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), the All Progressives Congress (APC) is mindful of the popular axiom: “A leopard cannot change its spot”.

The APC said the abnormalities that trailed the PDP National Convention have further exposed the PDP as a Party not ready and willing to change.

“Indeed, the PDP has once again displayed itself to the generality of Nigerians that it is a Party with corruption deeply rooted in its DNA.

“Again, it is tragic that the PDP which used to pride itself as “the biggest political Party in Africa” has now been reduced to a regional party.

“By frustrating South West Chairmanship candidates, it is unfortunate that the PDP has decided to punish the South West for not voting for the Party in 2015.

“We urge members of the PDP that can pass the integrity test to join the APC so that we can together bring about the much-needed Change the country deserves”.

NAN

Kogi doctors extend strike notice till 31 Dec.

The Kogi chapter of the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) says it has extended to Dec.31 the ultimatum it gave to the state government to meet its demands or face strike.

Dr Godwin Tijani, the state chairman told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Sunday in Lokoja that the extension of the date was due to the reassurances from the state government to meet the demands before Dec. 31.

“Congress resolved to extend the ultimatum to Dec. 31, for the actualisation of those promises.

“However, with effect from Jan. 1, 2018, NMA will be left with no option but to commence total withdrawal of services in all hospitals in Kogi.

‘’This is on the condition that the state government fails to properly address the demands on or before Dec. 31,” Tijani said.

According to Tijani, the Commissioner for Health, Dr Saka Haruna had also assured NMA that government would address its demands.

He said Haruna gave the assurance during the Emergency Congress Meeting (ECM) of the association on Dec. 8, which he attended with other top government officials.

“The Kogi NMA appreciates the Commissioner for Health, the Special Adviser on Health Matters and the Medical Elders for their role to ensuring industrial harmony in the health sector.’’

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the chapter, on Nov. 24, gave the state government the ultimatum to redeem the promises it gave the association in June 2017.

The state chairman said the decision to extend the ultimatum also emanated from the communiqué from the State Executive Council Meeting (SEC) of the association in Lokoja.

He said the the demands of the association include; failure of the state government to correct the salary underpayment of doctors in the Hospital Management Board (HMB).

NMA also demanded that continuous implementation of new tax regime be commensurate with implementation of staff promotion and annual increment.

Other demands are; that: the eight doctors cleared over three months ago should be paid their 11 to 12 months salary arrears, implementation of adjusted Consolidated Medical Salary scale, payment of four to five months backlog of salaries of doctors in public hospitals in the state.

NMA also called for payment of salaries of the newly employed doctors who it said assumed duty August 2017.

According to the association, its members do not yet understand the planned application of Clocking System and the payment of their salaries.

Tijjani expressed concern that the condition of doctors working with the Kogi Government has further deteriorated.

NAN

APC youths recount Amaechi’s achievements as Rivers State governor

As friends and well-wishers celebrate the 10th anniversary of the famous Supreme Court Judgment that proclaimed Mr Rotimi Amaechi the Governor of Rivers State in 2007, his feats are also being reckoned with.

The All Progressives Congress (APC) National Youth Caucus recounts some of Amaechi’s achievements as the Governor of Rivers State-2007 to 2015- in a statement by its Leader, Mr Haruna Okatahi, on Sunday in Abuja.

The principal issue of the case was the substitution of Amaechi with Celestine Omehia by the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP).

Then on Oct. 25, 2007, the Supreme Court delivered the judgment that Amaechi was the one that stood for the election of April 14, 2007 and won; and that he should be sworn in immediately.

Okatahi said that Amaechi thereafter hit the ground running as his feats in Rivers were still unequalled.

He said that the Minister of Transport creditably acquitted himself as a governor.

On roads, he listed the dualisation of Rumuokuta-Choba East-West Road, Obi Akpor , construction of Eleme junction flyover, construction of Omofo-Agaba Ndele Road, dredging works/Roads at Opobo New Layout, construction of Ozuzu to CSS Isu-Ogida Owu Egbu.

Others were dualisation of Airport-Isiokpo/Omarelu Roa, dualization of Ada George Phases 1 and 2/ Choba phase 2 NTA/Choba Airport , dualisation of Rumuola/Rumuokuta Road and dualisation of First Bank/Rumuomasi Road, dualization of slaughter-Trans Amadi/Rumuobiakani Road.

“ Shore protection and land reclamation of Egbomung/Oluk-Ama, construction of bridge at Bolo Creek with approaches, dualisation of Eneka-Igbo Etche link Road, construction of Apani internal Roads.

“Construction of Nyokhana-Kenkhana Link Road with Bridge from Luuwa to Bere construction of Odiolugbani-Enito 1 and 2-Oshie Road, expansion of Mbiama-Akinima Road, construction of Okeh-Ihie-Apani-Omarelu Road, construction of Bori internal Roads phase 3 , construction of Abua/Okoba close Rumuibekwe with extension to Elelenwo.

“Construction of Ikuru town- Atlantic Ocean Road, construction of Okeh-Mba-Umuaturu-Akpoku Obite, reconstruction of Town Market, dualisation of Rumukrushi-Eneka-Igwuruta Road, construction of Abuloma-Woji Road Bridge among others.’’

He said that Amaechi’s administration’s completed over 900km equivalent of the road distance between Lagos and Maiduguri and represents 64.2 per cent of the total roads he constructed.

.On education, he said that on assumption of office, Amaechi assuaged the lingering suffering of Rivers State Primary and Junior Secondary School (UBE) teachers by taking over the payment of their salary from the Local Government Council across the state.

He said that before Amaechi became governor of Rivers State, the salaries of primary school teachers were the sole responsibility of the local government council which made it a nightmare for the teachers to receive their hard earned salary as at when due at the end of every month.

“Sadly, the teachers were faced with different forms of maltreatment ranging from delay in salary payment, payment by hand, bribery and corruption, incessant complains and so on.

“The innocent teachers cried and prayed for help from the mess for many years.

“Amaechi did not stop there as he proceeded to building modern primary schools in every community in Rivers State and Modern Secondary School in each Local Government in the state,’’ he said.

He prayed God to grant Amaechi more wisdom and strength in his service to his fatherland.

NAN