Friday, 18 May 2018

Nigeria's parliament passes record 9.12 trln naira 2018 budget.

ABUJA (Reuters) - Nigeria’s parliament passed a record 9.12 trillion naira ($29.8 billion) budget for 2018 on Wednesday aimed at boosting growth in west Africa’s biggest economy nine months before the country’s next presidential election.

Growth remains fragile after Africa’s top crude oil producer last year emerged from its first recession in 25 years. The recession was largely caused by low crude prices and militant attacks on energy facilities since oil sales make up two-thirds of government revenue. 

The total sum laid out in the spending plan passed by the Senate is higher than the 8.6 trillion naira budget presented to parliament by President Muhammadu Buhari in November. 

The budget was passed by the Senate, the upper chamber, and by lawmakers in the lower House of Representatives shortly afterwards. The budget still needs to be returned to Buhari to be signed into law.

By Camillus Eboh.
Full story at Reuters.

Thursday, 17 May 2018

Maximum stake for fixed-odds betting terminals cut to £2.

High street bookmakers derive more than half
of their revenue from fixed-odds betting terminals.
Photograph: Peter Nicholls/Reuters
The maximum permitted stake on controversial fixed-odds betting terminals (FOBTs) will be cut from £100 to £2, the government has announced after ministers ignored pleas from bookmakers and branded the machines a “social blight”.

 The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport opted for £2 after more than a year of furious argument between anti-FOBT groups and high street bookmakers, who derive more than half of their revenue from the machines. 

The change, which requires parliamentary approval, will reduce the government’s tax take from the machines, but this will be paid for by an increase in duty applied to online gambling, to be detailed in the next budget.

By Rob Davies.
Full story at Yahoo News.

Wednesday, 16 May 2018

Pastel stripes and no door handles: How the architects of Kettner's Townhouse designed their own minimal family home.

They say you shouldn’t bring your work home with you. Architects Russell Potter and Laura Sanjuan took this adage seriously – and literally – when they embarked on the transformation of their three-floor Victorian townhouse in Clapham, south London, where they live with their two children, Isabella and Oscar. 

The couple are known for their designs of Soho House branches in Greek Street and at nearby Kettner’s Townhouse. The latter is characterised by a dark, decadent look packed with tweeds and marble; the couple’s  first personal project at home could not be more different. 

With its bright white looks and large sliding glass door, they have been asked more than once if their goal was to create an homage to a cool Ibiza villa. “That wasn’t the plan,” says Sanjuan. “But we can see why people ask.”

By Emily Wright.
Full story at Yahoo News.

Tuesday, 15 May 2018

Vodafone boss Vittorio Colao steps down after 10 years in charge.

Vodafone boss Vittorio Colao will step down in October after 10 years at the helm of the world’s second-largest mobile operator. 

Mr Colao, who previously ran Vodafone’s Italian business before being appointed chief executive in 2008, will be replaced by the FTSE 100 firm’s chief financial officer Nick Read. 

The news came as Vodafone revealed a 40pc hike in annual pre-tax profits to €3.9bn (£3.4bn) as it signed up record numbers of high-speed broadband customers. 

Shares in Vodafone were down 3.59pc at 199.76p, making the mobile operator the biggest faller in the FTSE 100 index this morning.

By Jack Torrance.
Full story at Yahoo News.

Monday, 14 May 2018

Cold weather boosts British Gas owner Centrica as it battles to hang on to customers.

Centrica said it was boosted
by the recent cold weather - REUTERS
The embattled owner of British Gas said February's extreme cold weather and a slowdown in customers fleeing for other providers buoyed its financial performance in the year-to-date, but it warned that more political tinkering in the energy market could harm its future prospects.

Centrica, Britain’s largest energy supplier, revealed it had lost 110,000 UK domestic customers since the start of the year amid “high levels of competitive intensity”. But it said that losses had “slowed materially relative to the average of 2017”.

The company said it remains on target to slash costs by £200m this year, partly by cutting 1,000 jobs, in a £1.25bn efficiency drive aimed at reviving its prospects in the face of tough competition.

By Jack Torrance.

Full story at Yahoo News.

Friday, 11 May 2018

Government to mobilise more revenues as tax payers’ base hits 19m.

The Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, has disclosed that the Federal Government would mobilise more revenues to drive its growth plan for the economy.The Minister made this known in Abuja at a meeting with a World Bank Mission of 10 Executive Directors led by Patrizio Pagano.She stated that the government would accelerate Nigeria’s growth level and also improve the ‘Ease of Doing Business’ in the country.

“The Nigerian Government is working towards accelerating the country’s growth level. The growth will be underpinned by stimulating the ‘Ease of Doing Business’ in Nigeria and improving our capital expenditure which we have done in the last two years.
“Nigerians should trust the Government to deliver on its promises of improving the economy and providing sustainable infrastructure development. We are very optimistic but we will remain vigilant,” Adeosun said.

The Minister revealed that the country’s tax payers’ base had risen from 14 million in 2016 to 19 million in 2018, grossing additional five million tax payers into the system. “By 2019, the growth will be stronger than the present level in 2018. We are optimistic in sustaining Nigeria’s economic growth. That is why we are driving the mobilisation of more revenues.

By Benjamin Alade.

Full story at The Nigerian Guardian.

Oil dips from recent highs on hopes of alternatives to Iran supply.

SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Oil prices dipped on Friday, easing from multi-year highs in the previous session on hopes that alternative supplies could replace a looming drop in Iranian exports from U.S. sanctions.

The United States plans to re-introduce sanctions against Iran, which produces around 4 percent of global oil supplies, after abandoning an agreement reached in late 2015 that limited Tehran's nuclear ambitions in exchange for removing U.S.-Europe sanctions.

The sanctions come amid an oil market that has been tightening due to strong demand, especially in Asia, and as top exporter Saudi Arabia and No.1 producer Russia have led efforts since 2017 to withhold oil supplies to prop up prices.
Brent crude futures were at $77.23 per barrel at 0705 GMT, down 24 cents, or 0.3 percent, from their last close. Brent the previous day hit its highest since November 2014 at $78 a barrel.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were down 15 cents, or 0.2 percent, at $71.21 a barrel after hitting a November 2014 high of $71.89 per barrel on Thursday.

By Henning Gloystein.

Full story at Yahoo News.

Thursday, 10 May 2018

BT to axe 13,000 jobs and quit London HQ in cost-cutting drive.

BT is to axe 13,000 jobs and abandon its central London headquarters in a £1.5bn cost-cutting plan to preserve its dividend as it faces a major expansion of its pensions black hole to £11.3bn.

The jobs will be shed mainly in administrative and back office functions and will be offset by around 6,000 new roles in front-line engineering and customer service, BT said.

The cost-cutting plan is designed to modernise BT and create financial capacity to invest more in its networks, while also maintaining payouts to investors. Capital spending on ultrafast broadband and mobile infrastructure is due to rise to £3.7bn for the next two years, compared with £3.5bn last year.

BT shares fell 7.8pc in early trade to 220p.

The job cuts and property shake-up are the result of an review carried out by the consultants McKinsey under the banner Project Novator.

Gavin Patterson, BT’s chief executive, who has faced City speculation over his own role as the company has struggled over the last 18 months, said: "I am really excited to be delivering the next stage of BT’s transformation and have put in place the team that will support me in achieving these objectives.”

By Christopher Williams

Full story at Yahoo News.

Wednesday, 9 May 2018

Oil jumps to highest since 2014 after U.S. quits Iran deal.

LONDON (Reuters) - Oil prices rose more than 3 percent on Wednesday, hitting 3-1/2-year highs, after U.S. President Trump abandoned a nuclear deal with Iran and announced the "highest level" of sanctions against the OPEC member.

Ignoring pleas by allies, Trump on Tuesday pulled out of an international agreement with Iran that was agreed in late 2015, raising the risk of conflict in the Middle East and casting uncertainty over global oil supplies at a time when the crude market is already tight.

Brent crude oil <LCOc1> touched its highest since November 2014 at $77.20 a barrel. The benchmark contract was up $2.15 a barrel, or more than 2.8 percent, at $77.00 by 0730 GMT.

U.S. light crude <CLc1> was up $1.90 a barrel, or almost 2.8 percent, at $70.96, near highs also last seen in late 2014.

In China, the biggest single buyer of Iranian oil, Shanghai crude futures <ISCc1> hit their strongest in dollar terms since they were launched in late May.

Full story at Yahoo News.

By Christopher Johnson.