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Moody’s Downgrades Britain From AAA

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Rating agency Moody’s stripped the United Kingdom of its AAA credit rating on Friday, making
it the latest European country to face a downgrade amid the continent’s grim growth prospects.
reports the CNN.
The UK was knocked down one notch to Aa1, with its ratings outlook at stable. Moody’s said the
key drivers of the downgrade included the country’s rising debt burden and tepid growth_outlook
over the next few years.
“Although the UK’s debt-servicing capacity remains very strong and very capable of withstanding further adverse economic and financial shocks, it does not at present possess the extraordinary resilience common to other AAA-rated issuers,” Moody’s said.
The UK had held AAA status since Moody’s first began rating the country in 1978.
In December, the UK’s budget monitor projected that the country’s economy would grow by just 1.3% this year. The government has been pushing a much-criticised austerity program, and finance minister George Osbourne said he remained committed to those efforts, even after the downgrade.
“This is a stark reminder of the debt problems that Britain faces and the clearest possible warning
to anyone who thinks we can run away from dealing with those problems,” he said. “Far from weakening our resolve to deal with our debts, this should redouble our resolve.”
The British government has said its belt-tightening will have to continue until 2018.
In announcing the downgrade, Moody’s said it expects the UK’s debt to peak at 96% of GDP in 2016, up from around 90% today.
A year ago, Moody’s switched the outlook on the UK’s AAA rating to negative, in a prelude to
Friday’s downgrade. At the same time, the firm cut the ratings of half a dozen European countries.
The other major rating agencies, Fitch and Standard & Poor’s, still have the UK rated AAA, though with negative outlooks.
Elsewhere in Europe, France lost its AAA rating from Moody’s in November, after a similar
downgrade from S&P in January.
The United States maintains its AAA rating from Moody’s and Fitch, though it was downgraded
by S&P in August 2011 following the debt ceiling standoff in Washington.
Steven Englander, a foreign exchange strategist with Citigroup, said in a research note following
the downgrade that the move was unlikely to raise borrowing costs for the UK, as bond yields
in the United States, France and Japan had remained stable following similar downgrades. But it
increases pressure on the country to pursue growth by weakening the pound, he added.
“While by itself the announcement merely accelerates what was expected to happen at some
point, the need for weakness (in the British pound) will become more apparent to policymakers
and investors,” Englander said.
Among Europe’s other major economies, Germany, Switzerland and the Netherlands maintain
their AAA ratings from Moody’s. France sits at Aal, while Italy is down at Baa2 with Spain at
Baa3.

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CAC Registers 245,000  SMEs Free Of Charge

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The Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) says it has registered more than 245,000 Small and Medium Enterp-rises  free of charge.
The Registrar-General, Alhaji Garba Abubakar,  said in Abuja on Wednesday that it did this with the approval of the Federal Government.
The Federal Government, he said, approved the free registration of 250,000 business names as part of its intervention to assuage the economic effect of Covid-19.
He said the Federal  Government paid 50 per cent of the cost of registration to CAC and more than 245,000 business names were consequently registered.
Abubakar explained that the process was electronic and applicants also got their certificates electronically.
He added that the numbers were divided between the 36 states of the federation and the FCT noting that Lagos, Abia and Kano States had the largest numbers.
He said free registration of 6, 606 business names was approved for 33 states while Abia, Lagos and Kano States would have 7, 906, 9,084 and 8,406 respectively.
Abubakar noted that aggregators were appointed and paid to collect SMEs information and submit same to CAC.
He explained that the commission provided special access for the aggregators for effective service delivery since they were responsible for scanning and uploading of documents.
He added that CAC had to take over from one of the aggregators appointed for two states but failed to deliver.
Abubakar said also that the intervention of CAC and appointment of substitute aggregators to take over in the two states sped up the process, already nearing completion.
“We are hoping that by end of September the exercise will come to an end,’’ he said.

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IPMAN Seeks Foreign Partnership For Robust Refinery Deal

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The Chairman, Rivers State Chapter of Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN),  Mr King Eppie, has said that he would be seeking the partnership of foreign bodies as part of his plans to strengthen the association.
Eppie said this when he spoke in a chat with newsmen in his office in Eleme, Eleme Local Government Area, Rivers State, Wednesday.
He pointed out that such plans would also encourage business growth especially to some of his members whom he said are  experiencing stormy business weather.
According to him, the challenging business condition was as a result of  non functional refineries in the country, stressing the need to seek for partnership.
He said that since its core business area was petroleum products, that his leadership would do all within its reach to improve the  system.
The Rivers IPMAN boss,  expressed hope that the ailing refineries in the country would bounce back to life.
“ I will be happy to see the refineries working again. Most of our members are suffering and business is no longer what it used to be, that’s why I want the refineries to come back to operation”, he said.
About the issue of legal battle in the association, he said that his team has been vindicated by the Apex court by declaring him the authentic chairman of IPMAN in Rivers State.
He recalled that the association was in a legal battle for about eight years, but expressed joy over its victorious end.
To those who were on the other side of the divide, he said that he has extended an olive branch to them as part of his plans to run an  all inclusive government.
“ The platform for those who went to court against us has been created for them to come back to the fold. IPMAN is one in the state and we are open to all, that is why we want everyone to come back”, he said.
The Tide learnt that the IPMAN chairman is  barely one week in office after years of legal battle that greeted the association as a result of leadership tussle.

By:King Onunwor

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1,818 MSMEs Benefit From Covid-19 Recovery Package In Delta

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No fewer than 1,818 Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) have benefited from Federal Government and the World Bank Covid-19 Action Recovery Economic Stimulus (NG-CARES) in Delta.
Governor Ifeanyi Okowa addressed the beneficiaries at the launch of funds disbursement in Asaba on Wednesday.
He commended the Federal Government and the World Bank for the partnership to provide succour for those affected by the pandemic in the country.
He said that now that the scheme had been domesticated in the state, the beneficiaries were in the first phase of the programme.
Okowa also lauded the Nigeria Governor’s Forum (NGF) for supporting the federal government to ensure that the programme was approved by the World Bank for implementation in Nigeria.
He also thanked the World Bank for the intervention and for working with state governments in the country towards cushioning the socio-economic effects of Covid-19 pandemic on the people, particularly the poor and vulnerable.
According to Okowa, today’s ceremony is a major step at putting MSMEs that are badly hurt by the pandemic on the path of recovery and growth.
He said this was “more so, with the disbursement of funds to the first set of 1,818 beneficiaries who have met the World Bank stipulated eligibility criteria within the initial six months.
“A total of 2,529 MSMEs are expected to receive grants to support post-covid-19 loans, operational costs and to enhance their IT capabilities.
“Indeed, we are glad to be part of the CARES programme of the Federal Government.
“The focus of intervention clearly aligns with the priority of the state government to give relief to those whose lives, businesses, jobs and means of livelihood have been distorted by the pandemic.
“The programme, which we have domesticated as the Delta CARES, is a two-year emergency recovery programme.
“It is aimed at supporting state governments’ budgeted programme of expenditures and interventions.
“It is to enable them to expand access to livelihood support, food security services, and grants for poor and vulnerable households and firms,” he said.
He said that the programme would also directly support 25,269 poor and vulnerable households with social transfers, basic services and livelihood grants.
The governor said it would as well support 13,976 farmers to boost food production and ensure smooth functioning of the food supply chain.
“The outlined figures are the targets stipulated by the World Bank, but do not preclude the State Government from scaling up if the need arises.
“It is my expectation that those charged with the implementation of Delta-CARES will be faithful in executing the mandate so that the desired results are achieved, bearing in mind that it is a Programme for Result (PforR),” Okowa said.
On his part, Dr Barry Pere-Gbe, Chairman, Steering Committee for Delta-CARES and State Commissioner for Economic Planning, commended Okowa for providing the funds for the programme.
Pere-Gbe was represented by the Commissioner for Youths Development, Mr Ifeanyi Egwunyenga.
He said that the main focus of the programme was to bring succour to residents whose means of livelihood had been disrupted by the impacts of Covid-19.
He said that the programme was hinged on three thematic area.

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