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Emerging Market Bond Handlers Recoup Losses

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Emerging-Market bond investors recovered their losses from the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression as a rally in debt from Argentina to Ukraine pushed JPMorgan Chase & Co’s benchmark index to a record.

The index, which tracts total returns on the foreign-currency debt of developing nations, has soared 43 per cent from its 2008 low to 445.14 Friday, the highest since the index began in December 1993, JPMorgan’s guage had dropped to as low as 311.87 in October after Mortgage losses at US banks caused global credit markets to freeze and New York-based investment bank Lehman Brothers Holding Inc to collapse in September.

“It’s probably the strongest recovery we’ve had in history” said Nigel Rendell, a senior emerging-market strategist at RBC Capital Markets in London. “The question is if it’s sustainable I would be much more cautions going forward, because markets just don’t keep going up forever.”

Leaders of the world’s biggest-economies pledged more than $1 trillion in April to bolster developing-nation finances by tripling the amount the International Monetary Fund can lend to rescue crisis-stricken countries to $750 billion to shore up foreign-exchange reserves. Bonds issued by Pakistan and Ukraine have led this year’s rally after the countries received IMF financing.

While the index is at a record high, the extra yield investors demand to own emerging-market bonds instead of US Treasures is 2.58 percentage points wider than its record low on June 1, 2007. The so-called spready today narrowed 7 basis points to 4.07 percentage points.

Indonesia sold 35 billion yen ($374 billion) of 10-year Samurai bonds Friday, even after bomb blasts in Jakarta killed eight people, a banker involved in the transaction said. Hungary raised 1 billion euros ($1.4 billion) in its first international sale of bonds since an emergency bailout last year.

Developing-nation bonds have recovered losses faster than global equities and commodities. The Emerging Markets index of equities in 22 countries is 42 per cent below its peak on October 2007. while the World Index of 23 developed nations has dropped 41 per cent. The Reuter/Jefferies CRB Index of commodities is down 49 per cent from its high on July 2, 2008.

The last time emerging market bondholders suffered losses of at least 30 per cent was during the aftermath of Russia’s 1998 default on $40 billion of domestic debt. The index dropped 36 per cent from March through September of that year, and took 15 months to recoup its losses. That compares from the low in October.

We had a clear panic move in September and October of last year, said Luis Costa, an emerging-market debt strategist at commerzbank AG in London.

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FOI Act Implementation Bothers BPST Boss

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The Director-General, Bureau of Public Service Reforms, Dr Dasuki Arabi, has expressed regrets that the implementation of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) has remained very low since the law was enacted.
The BPSR boss made the observation during a workshop held on Wednesday in Abuja on the appraisal of Freedom of Information Act.
Arabi said the Act was meant to entrench transparency and openness in governance through improved compliance to annual reporting obligations of public institutions.
“It is also expected to guide and improve compliance of public institutions in proactive disclosure of mandatory publication requirements, as well as empower citizens, the right to access information held by the state.
“Regrettably, since the introduction of the FOI Act, it is evident that the level of compliance among public institutions still remains low.
“While the level of engagement by citizens still remains insignificant and in some cases fraught with misunderstanding between the State and Non-State actors,” he added.
Arabi, therefore, said that the workshop was to resolve some of the grey areas around FOI, as well as foster a harmonious relationship between the State and Non-State actors towards the implementation of the Act.
He said good governance and transparency would only thrive in the country when citizens access to Information is assured.
The DG emphasised that the FOIA provided platform for inclusiveness that sought to hold leaders to account and feed into the decision making process.
Arabi said that the Bureau had worked assiduously towards the implementation of the Act and was making efforts to ensure that it was institutionalized across the public sector.
He said that the interventions were in the areas of training public service workers and development of feedback mechanism through which a portal for application and responses for FOI request were deployed.
Others, he said, are score-card for ranking the performances of websites of public institutions using specific benchmarks, including FOI portal.
“Creating platforms for citizens engagement with Civil Societies Organizations on topical issues of government through the BPSR flagship programmes such as the monthly Lunchtime Seminar series,” he added.
Arabi said that the Bureau had also deployed information technology to provide innovative means to improve record keeping and management using intranet and Electronic Data Management Systems.
He continued that they were working in conjunction with the Nigeria Economic Summit Group to gauge the perception of citizens on public policies.
In her remarks, the National Coordinator, Open Government Partnership (OGP), Nigeria, Dr Gloria Ahmed, said making information open was a hallmark of democracy and a basic human right.
She said that the FOIA has given citizens the opportunity to access information as regards government policies and reforms.

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FCTA Harmonises Mobile Adverts, Haulage System Against Double Taxation

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The Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA), Department of Outdoor Advertisement and Signage (DOAS), has launched the FCT/State Mobile Advertisement and Haulage permits for 2023 financial year.
Permanent Secretary, FCTA, Mr Olusade Adesola, while launching the system sought the cooperation of the business owners in the FCT, in order to achieve the objective of the initiative.
Adesola said the move was part of efforts to facilitate the ease of doing business drive in the nation’s capital.
He commended DOAS for the initiative. aimed at improving institutional cooperation and partnerships with the critical stakeholders.
Adesola warned: “FCTA would no longer tolerate acts of thuggery in the collection of taxes, as there are better ways of doing such, which will ensure the attainment of ease of doing business.”
He commended the leadership of Area Councils for resolving to synergise with DOAS to streamline the system.
The Permanent Secretary said the proliferation of collection authorities for mobile advertisements had led to serious loss of Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) in the FCT.
Earlier, the Executive Chairman, Kwali Area Council, Danladi Chiya, said although Area Councils have the constitutional right to collect such advertisements, they have no issue with FCTA over the establishment and mandate of DOAS.

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LASG Begins Vehicle Parking Lanes Demacation

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The Lagos State Parking Authority (LASPA) has revealed it will today commence creating additional Vehicle Parking Lanes in some selected locations across the State.
The Authority stated that all efforts have been geared towards improving the parking system of the State.
Speaking on the planned initiative on Friday in Ikeja, the General Manager of LASPA, Mrs. Adebisi Adelabu, stated that the vehicle parking lane mark exercise, which will begin with designated streets within Surulere, Ikoyi, Lekki, Obalende, Ikeja and Victoria Island axis of the State, is a step towards improving street parking from 2023.
Adelabu noted that the Parking Lane Markings will further guide motorists and pedestrians on appropriate parking regulations and spaces, minimise indiscriminate parking, confusion and uncertainty, while conveying a range of information to residents on parking procedures within each specified environment.
According to her, the lane markings will also include special consideration for people living with disabilities and signposts for parking directives, among other features.
The General Manager, however, solicited the understanding of residents within the locations who might be affected by any inconvenience the process might cause, assuring that the government is working rigorously in regulating and improving the parking culture as part of its Traffic Management and Transportation Agenda to ensure parking is convenient, safe and secure across the state.
Recall that the Authority had recently unveiled plans to begin full implementation of parking policy in the second quarter of 2023 and has continued to sensitise the public on the need to embrace the parking culture.

By; Nkpemenyie Mcdominic, Lagos

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