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Greece Debt Crisis Tops Finance Meeting Agenda

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The deepening Greek debt crisis remains uppermost in the minds of financial leaders as they wrap up a weekend conference pledging to address the risks facing the global economic recovery.

One danger arises from governments with budgets deeply in the red, such as Greece. Another, perhaps more worrisome, is still-rising unemployment in many advanced countries.

Finance ministers and central bankers agreed that recovery from the deepest recession since the end of World War II will take more effort.

“The worst is definitely behind us, but we are not out of the woods yet,” Egyptian Finance Minister Youssef Boutros-Ghali, the chairman of the International Monetary Fund steering committee, told reporters.

Greece’s finance minister, George Papaconstantinou, continued intense talks with top officials of the IMF and the European Union on a multibillion dollar rescue package to meet his country’s massive debt obligations. Parallel negotiations were under way in Athens. Papaconstantinou planned a Sunday session with Dominique Strauss-Khan, the head of the IMF.

The weekend talks end Sunday with discussions of a steering committee for the World Bank, the IMF’s sister lending organization, the biggest provider of development loans.

Security remained tight around the adjacent IMF-World Bank headquarters buildings three blocks from the White House. But protests were low-key, unlike past years when demonstrators clashed with police.

U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner urged the Greek government, European officials and the IMF to “move quickly to put in place a package of strong reforms and substantial concrete financial support.”

Geithner took part in a meeting at IMF headquarters which included Papaconstantinou, Strauss-Kahn and Olli Rehn, the European Commission’s top economic official.

Greece is hoping to obtain loans of about $40 billion from the group of 16 European countries which, like Greece, use the euro as a common currency, and an additional $13.4 billion from the IMF. Crippled by soaring borrowing costs, Greece on Friday made a formal request for the aid. Prime Minister George Papandreou declared in a televised address that his country’s economy was a “sinking ship.”

Canadian Finance Minister Jim Flaherty said Saturday that while he didn’t have a view on the proper size of a rescue program for Greece, finance officials from some other nations, including some in Europe, have expressed concerns that the current level may not be sufficient.

European and IMF officials, however, have made clear that their support will carry a high price: putting Greece’s fiscal house in order. Greece has already agreed to begin an austerity program that cuts civil servants’ pay, freezes pensions and raises taxes. But the country faces years of painful cutbacks and doubts about its long-term finances.

The austerity program has already generated massive street protests in Greece and labor strikes.

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NSE Begins Week On Negative Note, Loses N19.49bn

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The Nigerian stock market began the week on a negative note as banking and consumer goods stocks, among others, triggered a N19.49bn loss.
At the end of trading on the floor of the Nigerian  Exchange Limited , the NGX All-Share Index dropped by 0.09 per cent to end at 43,270.94 basis points, while the market capitalisation declined to N22.58tn.
Market activities were mixed as the total volume of shares traded decreased by 30.19 per cent while the value traded rose by 34.05 per cent.
A total of 213.13 million shares valued at N2.36bn were exchanged in 4,105 deals, compared to 305.32 million shares worth N3.58bn in 4,450 deals last Friday.
FCMB Group Plc topped the traded stocks in terms of volume, accounting for 27.43 per cent of the total volume of trades while Airtel Africa Plc emerged as the most traded stock by value, representing 28.81 per cent of the total value of trades on the exchange.
14 firms gained compared to 21 losers.
AIICO Insurance Plc was the biggest gainer for the day, topping the gainers’ chart with a price appreciation of 8.57 per cent to N0.76 per share.
It was followed by LivingTrust Mortgage Bank Plc with a rise of 7.95 per cent, ending the day at N0.95 per share.
Analysing by sectors, three of the five major indices closed lower, led by NGX Oil & Gas (-0.56 per cent), NGX Consumer Goods (-0.23 per cent) and NGX Banking (0.18 per cent).
But the insurance (0.82 per cent) and industrial goods (0.002 per cent) indices gained at the end of trading.

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… Introduces TIES To Boost  Business Loan

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The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has introduced the Tertiary Institutions Entrepreneurship Scheme (TIES), which provides undergraduates and graduates with a platform to access loans.
The TIES’ underlying aim is to provide access to capital for Nigerian undergraduates and graduates with innovative entrepreneurial and technological ideas from polytechnics and universities.
TIES intends to shift undergraduates and graduates away from white-collar job pursuits and towards a culture of entrepreneurship development for economic development and job creation.
In a national biennial entrepreneurship competition, the Developmental Component would be distributed in the form of awards to Nigerian polytechnics and universities.
The competition aims to increase undergraduates’ awareness and visibility of high-impact entrepreneurial/technological concepts, foster entrepreneurial talent hunts in Nigerian polytechnics and universities, and encourage commercially viable and transformative technologies.
Interested Nigerian polytechnics and universities shall apply to participate in the national biennial entrepreneurship competition on a dedicated online portal.
Outlining brief details of the project, potential impact and evidence of originality of project, CBN said it is an innovation for students entrepreneurs.

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CITN Applauds FG, Tax Authorities On Fiscal Policy Decisions

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The Chartered Institute of Taxation of Nigeria (CITN) has lauded the Federal Government and tax authorities on the giant strides made on fiscal policy decisions and tax administration measures initiated this year in the area of Finance Act 2021 and the introduction of TaxPromax solution.
President of the institute, Adesina Adedayo, who gave the commendation at the institute’s yearly award ceremony at the weekend in Lagos, assured the government and tax authorities of aligning with the measures and promised to provide professional thoughts and insights on ways through which they could achieve an efficient and effective Nigerian tax system.
Adedayo emphasised the need to address the database, adding that without knowing who the tax-payers are, there is no way they can take money from unknown tax-payers.
Database is the aspect we have been emphasising on as an institute and in doing this, there are so many of pockets of data we have. All the data must be harmonised to have a simple unique tax-payers identification number,” he said.

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