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UK Service Sector Growth Pick Up in May

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UK Service Sector

The UK service sector strengthened more than expected in May after hitting a 38 month low in April, survey data from Markit Economics showed on Friday.

UK services Purchasing Managers’ Index rose to 53.5 from 52.3 recorded in April, while economists forecast 52.5. A figure above 50 indicates expansion.

One-third of the companies surveyed said they suffered from uncertainty over the EU referendum, Markit said.

According to the report the economy is likely to grow by 0.2 percent in the second quarter of 2016, a 0.4 percent decline from the first quarter of the year.

The data released this week indicates that the manufacturing sector rebounded moderately in May, while construction fell due to slow orders.

“The PMI surveys show that the pace of economic growth remained subdued in May, as ‘Brexit’ worries exacerbated existing headwinds,” said Markit chief economist Chris Williamson.

“Growth has collapsed in manufacturing and construction, leaving the economy dependent on the service sector to sustain the upturn, though even here the pace of expansion has remained frustratingly weak so far this year.”

However, new business in the service sector grew at the slowest rate in 41 months. Slowing down new job creation to its weakest since August 2013.

“Despite some improvement compared to April, this is still a pretty lacklustre survey that points to muted services activity,” said Howard Archer, chief UK and European economist at IHS Global Insight.

“The muted services sector is particularly significant as the dominant sector was entirely responsible for UK GDP growth of 0.4% quarter-on-quarter in the first quarter.”

The British pound lost 0.9 percent against the US dollar to trade at 1.4446 ahead of job report due later today.

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.

Economy

World Bank In Partnership With Lagos State Plan To Construct 13.16km Farm Access Road

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Lagos State Government says its World Bank-assisted Agro-Processing, Productivity Enhancement, Livelihood Improvement Support (APPEALS) Project will construct 13.16km Farm Access Roads (FARs) in four cluster areas.

The state Commissioner for Agriculture, Ms. Abisola Olusanya, said this on Thursday during the activities to commemorate the second year of Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu’s administration.

Olusanya noted that the four farm cluster areas were Igbodu in Epe, Araga also in Epe, Erinkorodo in Ikorodu, and Afowo in Badagry. She said the access roads when completed would ensure smooth movement to and fro the farms.

Olusanya added that it would reduce losses encountered by egg farmers as a result of the bad road and also improve the productivity of the concerned farmers.

She said the evaluation and engineering design for the four roads had since been finalised and construction would commence immediately.

“APPEALS Project is a World Bank-assisted project aimed at enhancing the productivity of small-scale farmers in the three identified value chains of poultry, aquaculture, and rice through capacity building, provision of infrastructure, and empowerment.

“The project will be rehabilitating and constructing 13.16Km farm access roads already identified in four different clusters across the state. The design of the Bill of Engineering Measurement and Evaluation for the four FARs is at the final report stage.

“The advertisement for potential contractors and subsequent implementation will be carried out once the work plan is approved by the governor,” she said.

According to Olusanya, 1,621 regular beneficiaries under the Project’s Women and Youth Empowerment Programme (WYEP) has been trained in agribusiness management and other soft skills within the last two years.

“Of the number, 462 have received “No Objections” on their Business Investment Plans and are presently implementing their projects. Other beneficiaries will equally be supported before the end of the year, “ she said.

Olusanya added that the APPEALS project had equally identified and verified 9,942 farmers and Small and Medium Scale Enterprises, while 8,156 of them had received at least one form of training in relevant areas of agribusiness. She said this was with a view to enhancing their agricultural productivity and improving value addition. Olusanya noted that no fewer than 460 beneficiaries were sponsored for training, workshop, and conferences out of which 425 of them were farmers.

“A cluster of fish farmers at Badagry have adopted the production of fish crackers and fish cakes. Over 1,000 packs (696 Kg) of fish fillet and crackers had been produced and sold during the period under review.

“Use of nets for the control of birds in rice farming had since been adopted by our farmers. Over 100 rice farmers in Ganyingbo, Badagry are presently trying this technology with other agronomic practices learnt through the state collaboration with AfricaRice, IITA, Ibadan,” Olusanya said. (NAN)

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Foreign Sponsors Drives Infrastructure Projects In Nigeria – World Bank

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World Bank

Projects with foreign sponsors have played an important role in developing sizable infrastructure projects in Nigeria, the World Bank said on Thursday.

The World Bank said this in its report titled ‘Private participation in infrastructure 2020 annual report’.

It said sizable 2020 PPI investment commitments in Nigeria were mainly due to a big-ticket natural gas pipeline project.

The report said, “Nigeria has managed to report PPI investment commitments for five consecutive years since 2015. Sizable 2020 PPI investment commitments in Nigeria were mainly due to a big-ticket natural gas pipeline project.

“The $2.6bn pipelines will transport up to 3,500 million cubic feet of gas a day from various gas gathering projects in southern Nigeria.

“Projects with foreign sponsors, especially from China, have played an important role in developing sizable infrastructure projects in Nigeria.”

According to the report, there are four natural gas projects in some countries with $6.9bn in investment commitments in 2020.

It stated that one of them was the Ajaokuta–Kaduna–Kano pipeline, which was being developed by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation to transport natural gas from southern Nigeria to central Nigeria.

“The $2.8bn pipeline project represents phase one of the 1,300-kilometer Trans-Nigerian Gas Pipeline project, which is being developed as part of Nigeria’s Gas Master Plan to utilise the country’s surplus gas resources for power generation as well as for consumption by domestic customers,” it stated.

It said Mexico’s $4bn natural gas pipeline, storage, and corridor project was another one.

The report said it would be the largest natural gas storage facility in North America.

“The pipelines will provide a faster, more economical means of delivering natural gas to locations around the world,” it stated.

According to the report, investment commitments in 2020 stood at $45.7bn across 252 projects, marking a 52 percent decline from 2019 levels.

Private investment commitments had not fallen to these levels since 2004 when investment totaled $31.3bn, it stated.

Nevertheless, it added that despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, investments in the second half of the year increased by 15 percent from the first half of the year.

It stated that private investment commitments in 2020 fell in all regions except for Sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East and North Africa.

According to the report, the impact of COVID-19 was most severe in East Asia and the Pacific, followed by Latin America and the Caribbean, Europe and Central Asia, and South Asia.

It stated, “Investment commitments in International Development Association countries in 2020 totaled $6.2bn across 30 projects in 16 countries.

“This compared to $8.4bn across 27 projects in 18 countries in 2019. It is notable that there were more projects in IDA countries despite the pandemic.”

Also, it added, 2020 investment commitments in IDA countries were 21 percent higher than the 2015-2019 average of $5.2bn.

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Economy

16,000 Jobs Will Be Created After National Theatre’s Renovation – Sunday Ododo

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The National Arts Theatre- investorsking

The National Theatre will have the capacity to employ about 16,000 Nigerians at the completion of its ongoing renovation. This was revealed by Prof. Sunday Ododo, the General Manager of National Theatre.

He said the 44-year-old complex will provide over 16,000 jobs during and after its ongoing renovation, according to a report by NAN. Mr.Ododo said on Thursday that most of the jobs would come from the fields of music, movies, fashion, and information technology.

“Some of the jobs will be direct. Others will be indirect. The National Theatre will definitely be a hub for lots of activities,” he said.

Recall that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Federal Government recently signed a Memorandum Of Understanding (MOU) for the renovation of the complex. Under the MOU, the CBN, through the Bankers Committee, will invest N21.894 billion to renovate the National Theatre, refurbish it and run it profitably.

CBN Governor Godwin Emefiele, at the signing of the MOU, said that revamping the complex would unlock a mass of creative talents of thousands of Nigerian youths in various fields. Information minister Lai Mohammed, who signed on behalf of the Federal Government, had also said that the Private-Public-Partnership arrangement would stimulate growth in various sectors of the economy.

Mr. Ododo, while assessing the progress of the project, said that work had begun with the contractors fully mobilised to the site. He said he was particularly excited at the prospects of many youths securing jobs at all stages of the renovation.

“The jobs will come directly and indirectly through the ongoing radical restoration, revamping and renovation of the edifice. When completed, the complex, which is 44 years old, will be a huge business centre. It will be the place to be. Food sellers and other petty businesses will not be left out. Those coming for events will be served.

“Administration after administrations have ensured the edifice stands. And I must salute our predecessors; I give them kudos. If not for their dedication and efforts, National Theatre would have collapsed long ago. It is capital intensive to maintain. So you can now imagine if a huge sum of 21.8 billion naira is being invested to restore the complex.

“If, for instance, we had maintenance support of a billion naira or even half a billion annually, we will not get to this point where so much is required to fix the edifice. That is why we are glad to inform Nigerians that with the new arrangement, there’s a component that says that once the work is finished, a company will be engaged to maintain the facility every day for the next five years.

“If its work is good, it will be re-engaged; if otherwise, another company will be brought on board. So, maintenance is part of the new arrangement so that we don’t go back to Egypt,” he explained.

He regretted that hospitality outfits had taken over the business of the centre. According to him, these outfits make huge profits that could have been taken by the National Theatre.

“When the National Theatre is up and running, some of these event centres will have to be more creative to be in business. Though we don’t want to send anybody out of business, our own prime target is international businesses because we have facilities that can host international events which many of these event centres don’t have.

“Also, we will be making available a media centre that can take care of multi-language interpretation and all that. We have a 5,000-capacity main bowl. That one can take any UN event, any World Bank event, and any international event. National Theatre will be the centre to beat,” he declared.

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