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Goldman Sachs, HSBC Back Cameron Push to Keep Britain in the EU

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HSBC top family office

Chief executive officers from HSBC Holdings Plc to Goldman Sachs International were among the business leaders to endorse Prime Minister David Cameron’s campaign to keep Britain in the European Union.

Richard Gnodde and Michael Sherwood, the London-based co-CEOs of Goldman Sachs Group Inc.’s international division, HSBC’s Stuart Gulliver and Bill Winters of Standard Chartered Plc signed a letter to the Times newspaper saying that staying in the bloc would be best for the British economy. Barclays Plc and Lloyds Banking Group Plc weren’t represented.

Bankers appeared more eager to back Cameron than representatives of other industries, with only 36 of the U.K.’s 100 biggest companies publicly endorsing the statement that “leaving the EU would deter investment, threaten jobs and put the economy at risk.” Grocery chains J. Sainsbury Plc and Tesco Plc were among those not included.

The publication of the letter comes four months to the day until a referendum on so-called Brexit, as Cameron prepares to intensify his campaign after making risks to the economy a central plank of his case for remaining in the EU.

The pound continued its drop against its developed-nation peers on Tuesday following the decision by London Mayor Boris Johnson, Britain’s most popular politician, to support withdrawal from the EU, setting the stage for a heated campaign.

‘Unrestricted Access’

In their letter, the executives said that business needs “unrestricted access to the European market of 500 million people in order to continue to grow, invest and create jobs.”
The signatories, including bosses from Marks and Spencer Group Plc, Vodafone Group Plc and Heathrow Airport Ltd., employ 1.2 million people and represent about 200 companies, the Times said.

“A vote to remain offers the best of both worlds — it secures our place as a powerhouse in the global economy, while remaining in the world’s largest free trade zone,” John Holland-Kaye, the CEO of Heathrow, said in a separate statement on Tuesday.

Other finance chiefs to back Cameron were HSBC Chairman Douglas Flint, Adrian Montague, chairman of Aviva Plc, Xavier Rolet of London Stock Exchange Group Plc and Tidjane Thiam of Credit Suisse Group AG.

Voter Choice

Perhaps worried about alienating consumers, pay-television provider Sky Plc joined Tesco and Sainsbury in not endorsing the letter. The referendum is “a matter for the British people,” Sainsbury said in a statement on Monday.

Barclays said in a statement that, while it didn’t sign up to the letter as it’s against the bank’s policy, “on balance we think it is in the interests of our customers and clients” to stay in the EU.

The financial industry is more likely to be worried about life outside the EU than other business sectors given an exit would jeopardize the so-called passporting arrangements which allow firms to operate from the U.K. without needing a separate subsidiary on the continent.

Mega Banks

In an interview with Bloomberg News published on Tuesday, ING Groep NV Chief Executive Officer Ralph Hamers said the Dutch lender would probably follow other major banks in reducing its London staffing levels if the U.K. left the EU. HSBC has already said it would probably relocate about 1,000 investment bankers to Paris.

“If some of the mega banks, the markets banks, leave London, we will go with the flow,” Hamers said. “Either the circus of the financial markets is located in London or it’s going to be somewhere else.”

Cameron warned lawmakers on Monday that the economy would suffer if the U.K. left the EU and it would be less secure against threats from Russia and terrorism.

Labour Push

The opposition Labour Party will on Tuesday intensify its own push to stay in the EU with former minister Alan Johnson using a speech in western England to argue manufacturing jobs would be threatened by “Brexit.”

“For U.K. manufacturing jobs, our EU membership is absolutely critical — two-thirds of British jobs in manufacturing are dependent on demand from Europe,” Johnson will say, according to his office.

The latest opinion poll, from ICM, showed 42 percent of respondents in favor of staying in the bloc, with 40 percent opposed and 17 percent undecided. The online survey of 2,021 voters was conducted almost entirely before Johnson’s announcement. A Survation poll carried out Saturday showed a 15 percentage-point lead for staying in. That’s in line with other recent phone surveys, which have consistently shown big leads for the status quo, while more frequent online polling has been inconclusive.

Bloomberg

CEO/Founder Investors King Ltd, a foreign exchange research analyst, contributing author on New York-based Talk Markets and Investing.com, with over a decade experience in the global financial markets.

Government

Lagos State Moves to Completely Ban Okada, Keke, Introduces Minibuses

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Minibus - Investors King

The Lagos State Government on Monday announced plans to completely ban the use of motorcycles (okada) and tricycles (Keke) due to rising crime and lawlessness across the state.

The announcement was made after a stakeholders’ meeting held at the Adeyemi Bero Auditorium, Alausa Secretariat, Ikeja.

In the meeting attended by Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, the Speaker of the House of Assembly, Mudashiru Obasa; the Chief Judge, Kazeem Alogba; the Commissioner of Police, Hakeem Odumosu, traditional and religious leaders and members of the civil society, among others, the governor said the string of lawlessness daily witnessed from the confrontation between commercial motorcyclists and law enforcement agencies required urgent action.

Based on all that we have seen and experienced in the past couple of weeks, as well as the increasing threat posed by the activities of commercial motorcycle operators to the safety and security of lives, we will be announcing further changes to the parameters of motorcycle and tricycle operations in the state in the coming days. No society can make progress amid such a haughty display of lawlessness and criminality,” he added.

Sanwo-Olu said from next week, the state would be inaugurating the First and Last Mile buses next week, which would take the routes the motorcycles were plying.

The state Commissioner of Police, Odumosu, raised the alarm over rising security breaches from the menace of okada operations in the state.

He said between January and early this month, 320 commercial motorcycles were impounded in 218 cases of criminal incidents in which 78 suspects were detained and 480 ammunition recovered.

In the same period, the Lagos police boss said Okada accounted for 83 per cent of 385 cases of avoidable fatal vehicular accidents in Lagos.

At the end of the meeting, a 12-point resolution was reached, among which was a ban on Okada “as a means of transportation in the state.”

 

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2023 Voter’s Registration Will Be Online, Biometric To Be Captured Physically- INEC

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INEC-PVC

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) yesterday unfolded plans to allow online filing during the continuous voter registration for the 2023 general election.

The National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee of INEC, Mr. Festus Okoye, however, said only the biometric would be captured physically by INEC officials.

But the commission suffered another setback yesterday as arsonists torched its office in Ohafia Local Government Area of Abia State.

Okoye, during a stakeholders’ meeting on expanding voter access to polling units in Kano yesterday, said: “On June 28, the voter registration exercise for those above 18 years and those who have not registered before will commence with two new innovations. Those versatile with computer can register online and only visit a registration centre to capture their biometrics.”

Okoye stated that the online registration would be introduced to reduce crowd at registration centres in line with COVID-19 protocols.

The commission called on citizens, especially those willing to contest elections, whose voter cards have been defaced, whose names were wrongly spelt or addresses and locations wrongly captured to present themselves for authentication or correction.

INEC also called for valid data of all those with disabilities or physical challenges to be captured during the continuous registration for proper projections ahead of the 2023 general election.

INEC also warned political parties and politicians who have started campaigning to desist from doing so.

Okoye said: “There is a ban on political campaigns which has not been lifted yet. And I find it necessary to draw your attention for you to understand the legal implication of violating this ban.

“I have listened to comments on radio stations, which are capable of heating the polity. Media organisations should avoid providing platforms for such comments. The media should try to curtail such tensions.

“Political parties, politicians and their supporters should understand there is a legal framework for campaigns and it has not commenced yet.”

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No Plans To Relocate AFRICOM HQ To Nigeria Or Any Part Of Africa- U.S. Replies Buhari

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AFRICOM HQ

The United States has said there is no plan to relocate its Africa Command from its current base in Germany to Nigeria or any other part of Africa despite the worsening state of insecurity in the region.

The US gave the response barely two weeks after President Muhammadu Buhari appealed to the US government to consider relocating AFRICOM to Africa to assist Nigeria and other adjoining countries to combat worsening terrorism, banditry and other security crises.

The President made the plea in a virtual meeting with the US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, on April 27.

Germany-based Africa Command (AFRICOM) is the US military headquarters that oversees its operations in Africa.

Buhari’s request followed a series of recent military casualties in Nigeria’s decade-long fight against Boko Haram terrorists, fresh expansion of the insurgents’ bases to Niger and Nasarawa States, and heavy waves of abductions and killings by bandits in the North.

Buhari said, “The security challenges in Nigeria remain of great concern to us and impacted more negatively, by existing complex negative pressures in the Sahel, Central and West Africa, as well as the Lake Chad Region.

“Compounded as the situation remains, Nigeria and her security forces remain resolutely committed to containing them and addressing their root causes.

“The support of important and strategic partners like the United States cannot be overstated as the consequences of insecurity will affect all nations, hence the imperative for concerted cooperation and collaboration of all nations to overcome these challenges.

“In this connection, and considering the growing security challenges in West and Central Africa, Gulf of Guinea, Lake Chad region and the Sahel, weighing heavily on Africa, it underscores the need for the United States to consider relocating AFRICOM headquarters from Stuttgart, Germany to Africa and near the Theatre of Operation.”

However, the US government on Thursday ruled out any plan to relocate AFRICOM from its current base in Germany to Nigeria or any part of Africa.

According to the United States Department of Defence’ Pentagon, previous studies have shown that the cost of relocating AFRICOM from Germany to Africa is very huge.

In an emailed response to The PUNCH, the Pentagon said although it would continue to value Nigeria and other countries in Africa as important partners, the American government would not consider relocating AFRICOM to any part of the African continent at the moment.

This newspaper had asked if the US would consider Nigeria’s request to relocate AFRICOM to the continent.

“It would be inappropriate to speculate on any future actions. However, at this time, moving this headquarters (AFRICOM HQ) to Africa is not part of any plans, but USAFRICOM’s commitment to their mission, our African and other partners, remains as strong today as when we launched this command more than a decade ago,” US Pentagon spokesperson, Ms. Cindi King, said.

King also ruled out any plan to consider Buhari’s request in an ongoing global US defence review.

She said, “Although there is an ongoing Global Posture Review, the relocation of Combatant Command headquarters is outside the scope of its assessment. In the case of AFRICOM, previous studies have concluded that the cost associated with the relocation of this headquarters is significant and likely to incur the expense of other engagement opportunities and activities that more directly benefit our valued African partners.

“We greatly value the partnership with Nigeria and appreciate President Buhari’s recognition of the United States’ positive contribution to African peace and security, as well as other regional partners that have made similar past pronouncements. The United States remains committed to continuing our close partnership with African countries and organisations to promote security and stability.”

It’s ‘near impossible’ for America to accept Buhari’s invitation –Campbell, ex-US ambassador

Meanwhile, a former United States Ambassador to Nigeria, John Campbell, has listed reasons why it is “unlikely or near impossible” for the US government to relocate AFRICOM from Stuttgart in Germany to Nigeria or any part of the continent.

He said aside from the fact that the cost of doing so is very huge, the Nigerian military had proved to be a difficult partner for the US over the years.

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