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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
President Buhari Accuses Governors of Stealing LG Funds
Nigerian President, Muhammadu Buhari has once again accused state governors of stealing monthly allocation due to local government under them.
The president spoke at a parley with members of the Senior Executive Course of the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies, Kuru, held at the State House Banquet Hall, Abuja.
Speaking at the event, the president stated that it beats anyone’s imagination how some governors collected money on behalf of council areas in their states, only to remit just half of such allocation to the council chairmen, who would further deplete the remittance by filching it. Investors King learnt.
‘‘I found it necessary to digress after reading my speech and this digression is a result of my personal experience. What they did, this is my personal experience, if the money from the Federation Account to the state is about N100m, N50m will be sent to the chairman, but he will sign that he received N100m. The governor will pocket the balance and share it with whoever he wants to share it with,” the president narrated.
‘‘This is what’s happening. This is Nigeria. It’s a terrible thing; you cannot say the person who was doing this is not educated. He was a qualified lawyer, he was experienced, yet he participated in this type of corruption.” he queried.
Furthermore, the president clarified that state governors and local government chairmen should be held responsible for the underdevelopment in the rural areas noting that most of the local governments lack basic amenities.
Similarly, the National Union of Local Government Employees on Thursday backed the position of the president on the embezzlement and mismanagement of local government funds.
Responding to Buhari’s position, the President of the Nigeria Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE), Hakeem Ambali, said Buhari was merely stating the obvious.
The NULGE President nevertheless admonished the president to go beyond the statement and ensure governors, especially those in APC to sign the local government autonomy bill into law.
“He should go beyond that statement. He is the leader of the party, he should ask them to sign the autonomy into law; he is the leader of the governors,’’ he said.
Ramaphosa Braces for Calls to Resign Over $580,000 Theft at Farm
The panel found the president may have violated sections of the constitution following a theft of $580,000 that was stashed in a sofa at a game farm he owns.
South African President Cyril Ramaphosa’s allies are steeling themselves before a meeting of the governing party’s top leaders at which he’s likely to face calls for his resignation.
The African National Congress’s National Executive Committee will on Thursday discuss the findings by an advisory panel that there may be a case for Ramaphosa’s impeachment. The panel found the president may have violated sections of the constitution following a theft of $580,000 that was stashed in a sofa at a game farm he owns.
The release of the panel’s report on Wednesday night triggered a slump in the rand. The NEC meeting is scheduled to start at 7 p.m.
Party officials met with the ANC’s chief whip and the speaker of parliament to discuss the report on Wednesday, according to people familiar with the matter. A group of NEC members sympathetic to Ramaphosa held a meeting of their own, said the people who asked not to be identified discussing private party matters.
Pule Mabe, the ANC’s spokesman, didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment sent by text message.
The meeting of Ramaphosa’s supporters was called by Minister in the Presidency Mondli Gungubele. Two NEC members who are close to Ramaphosa expressed concern that the president may opt to resign — a replay of what happened in June when the scandal over the game-farm theft first erupted and he took advice on whether or not he should quit.
Ibom MRO to Bring in Forex to Nigeria
Akwa Ibom State to open a cutting-edge smart terminal building at the Victor Attah International Airport
The governor of Akwa Ibom State, Governor Udom Emmanuel, has announced that the state is close to opening a cutting-edge smart terminal building at the Victor Attah International Airport and that this will generate foreign exchange for Nigeria.
This comes on the heels of praise from his Edo State counterpart, Gov. Godwin Obaseki, who attended the Tuesday reception in Uyo for two additional A320-200 Airbus aircraft that the state’s Ibom Air fleet had leased from a European company.
Speaking at the event, the governor of Akwa Ibom said that while there were already efforts underway to persuade the government to lease the MRO, the MRO is an investment because it was built with naira, despite its current depreciation, and will therefore generate income.
The Akwa Ibom governor said “Our terminal building is world-class in Africa, our MRO is world-class. If you find one today in the entire Gulf of Guinea, tell me I’ll disassemble this one and build another.
“Look at our MRO; what you see here can accommodate two 747 aircraft as well as eight CRJ aircraft, which we are flying for servicing at the same time.”
“This is the only MRO in this part of the world today, and these facilities are not built with local currency, but we are building this MRO with naira that has no value.”
“I invest in areas where we can see a return on our money. Right now without blinking an eye, I can make over $ 30 million with this MRO if we decide to sell but we are not selling, we will make a foreign exchange from this investment.
“Airbus is on us to come and lease our MRO for all their regional flights, but we are not selling.
“We are going to open up this place ( MRO facility) from January next year for commercial activities and we are going to earn in dollars.”
He thanked Ibom Air’s Board of Directors, Management, and Staff for making him proud, emphasising that “they have done very well.”
Gov. Obaseki, who spoke at the event, stated that Akwa Ibom has become the country’s flagship state for its efforts to invest in and make significant strides in the aviation sector.
Obaseki described Akwa Ibom as the country’s flagship state for its efforts to invest in and expand the aviation sector. “Ibom Air is always completely booked.” Let me thank you on behalf of Nigerians,’’ Obaseki said.
In his remarks, the Managing Director of Ibom Airlines., Mr Mfon Udom announced plans to begin regional flights in 2023.
Udom said the new addition to the fleet of Ibom Air would expand its carrying capacity and boost employment opportunities in the state by 40 per cent.
“With this new capacity coming on board, we are delighted to inform our passengers that we have increased our offerings, providing more frequencies for their convenience.
“The Uyo-Lagos and Uyo-Abuja routes now have three frequencies each every weekday, while our Lagos-Abuja passengers will have seven frequencies to choose from both ways, every weekday,’’ he said.
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