Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe Resigns Due to Health Reasons
Japanese longest-serving Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe, has announced his resignation after battling health issues for years.
Abe, 65, became Japan’s prime minister in 2012 and immediately introduced what is now known as Abenomics’ economic policy structured based on monetary easing, fiscal stimulus through government spending and structural reforms.
In April 2013, using Abenomics (conned from Abe and Economics), Bank of Japan announced ¥60 to ¥70 trillion yearly bond-buying program to ease economic hardship and stimulate growth from within. This led to 55 percent increase in the value of the Japanese stock market just a month after BoJ introduced Quantitative Easing (QE).
The central bank increased its quantitative easing to ¥80 trillion in 2014 as survey results showed 74 percent of Japanese praised the prime minister for putting an end to Japan’s prolonged recession.
On Friday, Abe said he stepped down because he did not want his illness to get in the way of critical decision and apologised to the Japanese people for failing to complete his term in the office.
He said “I made a judgement I should not continue my job as a prime minister.”
“I would like to sincerely apologise to the people of Japan for leaving my post with one year left in my term of office, and amid the coronavirus woes, while various policies are still in the process of being implemented.”
While it is unclear when the Prime Minister would formally resign, the Nikkei declined by 2.25 percent on Friday before closing 1.41 percent lower at 22,882.65 as investors fear Abe’s resignation might bring an end to Japan’s stable economy.
“The Nikkei will likely head to around 21,000, a level where its price-to-book ratio will be 1.0,” said Takatoshi Itoshima, a strategist at Pictet Asset Management.
“Japanese stocks tend to do well under a long, stable government and that was especially the case for Abe. Foreign investors may also worry what will happen to the relationship between the government and the Bank of Japan.”
Egypt Leads Nigeria, South Africa in Foreign Direct Investment
The United Nations Trade Association has Nigeria recorded a total of $2.6 billion in Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in 2020, below the $3.3 billion posted in the preceeding year.
South Africa, Africa’s most industrialised nation, reported $2.5 billion during the same year, slightly below Africa’s largest economy and 50 percent below the $4.6 billion attracted a year earlier.
The report also noted that Africa recorded a total of $38 billion FDI in the same year, representing a 18 percent decline from the $46 billion posted in the corresponding year of 2019.
However, Egypt led Nigeria and South Africa with $5.5 billion FDI, an increase of 38 percent from the preceeding year.
The report read in part, “FDI flows to Africa declined by 18% to an estimated $38 billion, from $46 billion in 2019. Greenfield project announcements, an indication of future FDI trends, fell 63% to $28 billion, from $77 billion in 2019. The pandemic’s negative impact on FDI was amplified by low prices of and low demand for commodities.”
UNCTAD also noted that global foreign direct investment declined by 42 percent to an estimated $859 billion, down from $1.5 trillion in 2019.
“The decline was concentrated in developed countries, where FDI flows fell by 69 percent to an estimated $229 billion. Flows to Europe dried up completely to -4 billion (including large negative flows in several countries). A sharp decrease was also recorded in the United States (-49%) to $134 billion.”
FG to Partly Fund Six Rail Projects Connecting All Regions
The Federal Government will pay a total sum of N71 billion to partly fund six rail projects connecting all regions of the country.
In the report obtained from the Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning, the six rail projects marked for development this year are Lagos-Kano rail line (ongoing), Calabar-Lagos (ongoing), and Ajaokuta-Itakpe-Aladja (Warri).
Others are the Port Harcourt-Maiduguri railway, the new Kano-Katsina-Jibiya-Maradi line in Niger Republic and the Abuja-Itakpe and Aladja-Warri Port and refinery/Warri new harbour.
The Buhari administration will also spend N15.1 billion on the development of safety and security of critical projects, airport certification, runway construction, terminal building, among others in the aviation sector in 2021.
Last week, Rotimi Amaechi, Minister of Transportation, said the Lagos-Kano line would be connected from the Ibadan end of the Lagos-Ibadan railway and would cost $5.3 billion.
“We are waiting for the Chinese government and bank to approve the $5.3bn to construct the Ibadan-Kano. What was approved a year ago was the contract,” the minister said.
He added, “The moment I announced that the Federal Government had awarded a contract of $5.3bn to CCECC (China Civil Engineering and Construction Corporation) to construct Ibadan-Kano, people assumed the money had come in; no.
“We have not got the money, which is a year after we applied for the loan. We have almost finished the one of Lagos-Ibadan. If we don’t get the loan now, we can’t commence.”
FG Launches E-ticketing Platform to Deepen Train Usage and Convenience
In a bid to improve the usage and enhance the convenience of train transport in Nigeria, the Federal Government on Thursday announced the launching of the Electronic Ticketing platform for the Kaduna-Abuja rail services.
The N900 million E-ticketing platform was introduced by the Minister of Transportation, Chibuike R. Amaechi, and the Nigerian Railway Corporation.
Amaechi said the new platform would improve efficiency, promote accountability, reduce leakage and enhance economic growth, as well as save time.
The E-ticketing platform was a Public-Private Partnership project done in conjunction with Secure ID Solutions, who provide and would manage the system for 10 years in an effort to recoup its investment before the Nigerian Railway Corporation take charge.
Kofo Akinkugbe, the Chief Executive Officer, Secure ID Solutions, said as the new E-platform issued 25,000 tickets after a successful pilot test on Thursday.
Potential Travelers can book via three ways:
1. Mobile app
3. POS or Cash at the station
A validator would be used to scan the ticket barcode to ascertain its authenticity before boarding.
Amaechi further announced that self-service ticket vending machines at various train stations would be introduced soon.
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