Thursday, 22 February 2018


The Nigerian President, Muhammadu Buhari, has cautioned member countries of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) against forcing through the planned currency integration in the sub-region by 2020.

President Buhari, who was represented by the Governor, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr. Godwin Emefiele, issued the warning on Tuesday, February 21, 2018, during the 5th meeting of the Presidential Task Force on ECOWAS Currency Programme in Accra, Ghana, noting that Heads of Government had not properly articulated and analysed a comprehensive picture of the state of preparedness of individual countries for monetary integration by 2020.

He reiterated that the non-preparedness of some member countries, the credibility of the union if anchored on watered down criteria, and the continuing disparities between macro-economic conditions in ECOWAS countries, continued to be major issues of concern that members must examine in order to make progress.

Pres. Buhari further observed that ECOWAS Heads of Government had not been adequately briefed on the full implications of forcing through the integration by 2020, particularly where some countries were not individually ready domestically.

By Eugene Boahene.
Full story at The Breaking Times.

Budget 2018: VAT is increased – A first for new SA.

For the first time in democratic South Africa value-added tax (VAT) is raised – by one percentage point to 15% as part of the “tough but hopeful” Budget Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba presented on Wednesday. The VAT hike is central in a set of tax increases, including higher estate and luxury goods duties and an extra 52 cents per litre in fuel levies, to generate an additional R36-billion for the national purse. The tax hikes come alongside R85-billion government expenditure cuts over the next three years to fund inclusive economic growth and social spending, from free higher education to health care and social protection. By MARIANNE MERTEN.

The increase in value added tax (VAT) to 15%, from 14%, with effect of 1 April 2018, is a tough political choice. Trade unions and civil society organisations are on public record opposing this option.

But Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba, speaking to media ahead of delivering his maiden Budget, maintained this was the right decision, and one with the least negative consequences for economic growth or social protection. And South Africa’s VAT rate was still below peer countries like Argentina, Zimbabwe and Russia.

There would be talks with the trade unions once the announcement was made. “It is difficult to consult about taxes prior to the Budget because we don’t want not to take the decision,” said Gigaba, adding that it was important to note the basket of zero-rated food remained to protect poor households. And above inflation social grant increases, alongside steps towards free higher education, were key in shielding the poor. In any case, the VAT increase would predominately affect higher income earners.

By Marianne Merten.
Full story at Daily Maverick.

Bridgewater's Dalio sees 70 pct chance of recession before 2020.

CAMBRIDGE, Mass., Feb 21 (Reuters) - Billionaire investor Ray Dalio, who founded world's largest hedge fund Bridgewater Associates, thinks there is a relatively high chance the U.S. economy will stumble into a recession before the next presidential election in 2020.

Dalio said the U.S. economy is not currently in a bubble. But he reasoned that it might not take long to get there and then to move on to a "bust" phase.

"I think we are in a pre-bubble stage that could go into a bubble stage ... The probability of a recession prior to the next presidential election would be relatively high, maybe 70 percent, Dalio said during an appearance at the Harvard Kennedy School's Institute of Politics.

Dalio, whose fund invests some $160 billion, stepped down from the hedge fund's day-to-day operations nearly a year ago, but his views on markets and the economy are still very closely followed.

At the event, Lawrence Summers, a former Treasury secretary and former Harvard president, asked Dalio questions including what advice he would give individual investors who may have been rattled by the market's recent turbulence after years of steady gains.

By Svea Herbst-Bayliss.

Full story at Yahoo News.

British Gas owner to axe 4,000 jobs - despite making £1.25bn profit.

British Gas owner Centrica is to axe 4,000 jobs despite making a profit of £1.25bn.

It blamed a number of factors for the move – including pointing the finger at the government’s energy price cap.

Centrica shed 1.4m customers and described its performance in the UK in the second half of last year as “weak”.

Chief executive Iain Conn revealed group profits fell 17%, adding that the job losses were in part owing to “intense” competition and partly to customers “moving to digital”.

By Mark Norman.

Full story at Yahoo News.

Monday, 19 February 2018

Carillion job losses rise above 1,000.

The number of Carillion workers who have lost their jobs as a result of the collapse of the construction firm has topped 1,000.

A further 152 former employees are being made redundant this week, taking the total to 1,141 since the company went into liquidation last month.

The official receiver announced that 7,610 jobs have been saved, of about 19,500 employed by the company in the UK, including 942 following agreements over the past week to buy contracts held by Carillion.

A statement by the official receiver said: “Most employees who have transferred so far have done so on existing or similar terms.

“Those who have lost their jobs will be able to find support through Jobcentre Plus’ rapid response service and are also entitled to make a claim for statutory redundancy payments.

The Guardian.
Full story at Yahoo News.

Friday, 16 February 2018

Economy: Nigeria’s inflation drops to 15.13 % in January – NBS

Declining inflation rate in Nigeria has not reduced 
the cost of living of the people which is now on the increase.(SweetCrudeReports)
The NBS disclosed this in its CPI report for January 2018 released on Wednesday in Abuja.

The inflation rate, measured by the Consumer Price Index (CPI), has further dropped to 15.13 per cent in January from 15.37 per cent recorded in December, 2017, National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) has said.

The NBS disclosed this in its CPI report for January 2018 released on Wednesday in Abuja.

The Consumer Price Index (CPI), which measures inflation, started the year 2018 increasing by 15.13 percent (year-on-year) in January 2018.

According to the bureau, this is 0.24 per cent points lower than the rate recorded in December (15.37 per cent).

It stated that the rate recorded made it the twelfth consecutive disinflation (slowdown in the inflation rate though still positive) in headline year-on-year inflation since January 2017.

It, however, stated that increases were recorded in the Classification of Individual Consumption by Purpose (COICOP) divisions that yield the Headline Index.

On a month-on-month basis, the report stated that the Headline index increased by 0.80 per cent in January 2018, 0.21 per cent points higher from the rate of 0.59 per cent recorded in December 2017.


Full story at Pulse NG.

Zuma's defining moments for the economy.

Picture: Siphiwe Sibeko/Reuters
JOHANNESBURG - Former president Jacob Zuma’s ruinous leadership led to many unpopular decisions that plunged South Africa into a series of crises and led to the continental superpower’s credit rating downgraded to junk status.

When Zuma took over as president in May 2009, the economy was fairly stable with the rand trading at R8 levels to the US dollar. But that sentiment on Africa’s largest and most diversified economy quickly changed when Zuma would “irrationally” reshuffle his cabinet, in some cases appointing little-known ANC backbenchers to critical posts such as the finance ministry, unsettling the markets and sending the local currency on a downward spiral.

Zuma presided over an unprecedented unemployment rate of 27.7 percent, which recently went down 26.7 percent. And while South Africa’s business confidence index averaged 100 index points in 2015, it went down before improving 3.3 index points to the current 99.7 percent, moving closer to levels last seen before Zuma unceremoniously fired Nhlanhla Nene as finance minister in December 2015 and replacing him with Des van Rooyen. This decision was a defining moment of Zuma’s administration as it wiped at least R170 billion off the stock market and plunged the rand to lows of R15.38/$.

Full story at IOL.

By Luyolo Mkentane.