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18.5.18

Hazard warning for Man United as troubled Chelsea eye FA Cup salvation

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 Hazard warning for Man United as troubled Chelsea eye FA Cup salvation
Desperate to end a dismal season on a high note, troubled Chelsea manager Antonio Conte needs Eden Hazard to ride to his rescue in Saturday’s FA Cup final against Manchester United.
Conte’s side have been rocked by their failure to qualify for next season’s Champions League after they stumbled to a disappointing fifth place finish in the Premier League.
With Conte reportedly on the verge of leaving following his feud with the club’s hierarchy over transfers, there is a sense Chelsea are lurching through one of their regular periods of self-inflicted turmoil.
While victory at Wembley this weekend wouldn’t erase the problems gripping Chelsea, it does offer a chance to dispel the notion that disharmony between Conte and his players has accelerated their decline.
Just 12 months ago, Chelsea swaggered into the FA Cup final as the newly crowned Premier League champions following Conte’s dazzling debut season.
Yet they left Wembley empty-handed after a lacklustre 2-1 defeat against Arsenal that left a painful sting.
“You don’t want to be on the back of losing two FA Cup finals in a row,” Chelsea midfielder Cesc Fabregas said.
“Last year we didn’t play well. We have this regret in our head and we want to make it right this time for sure.”
Things haven’t been the same since and, despite his insistence that he would happily remain in charge next season, Conte has carried the air of a man who knows he is on borrowed time.
Against that troubled backdrop, it would be a fitting coda to Conte’s woes if United manager Jose Mourinho was the man to shove his rival towards the exit door.
Showing signs of cracking under the strain of Chelsea’s turbulent season, Conte has been drawn into a series of petty and increasingly bitter exchanges with former Chelsea boss Mourinho.
To avoid the unpleasant prospect of watching Mourinho celebrating at his expense, Conte needs to find a way to unify his team following last weekend’s shambolic 3-0 loss at Newcastle.
That result ended their top four hopes and was emblematic of Chelsea’s diffident approach for much of the season.
‘Unstoppable’ Hazard
Now their hopes of winning the Cup for the first time since 2012 lie largely with Belgium playmaker Hazard.
With Hazard unable to reach the heights he scaled during last season’s Premier League title-winning run, the Blues have spluttered badly up front, triggering numerous complaints about their lack of cutting edge from boss Antonio Conte.
The 27-year-old isn’t the only one to blame as Alvaro Morata, Willian and Pedro have also been inconsistent, but Hazard is Chelsea’s creative lynchpin.
Worryingly for Chelsea, Hazard showed signs of unrest this week when he admitted he would wait to see who the club sign in the summer before deciding whether to sign a new contract.
Fabregas has no doubt that a motivated Hazard can see off United, saying: “He’s a fantastic player. When he’s on his day he can be unstoppable.
“We have to make sure we give him the right service so he can work his magic and give us a good performance, because we will need that.”
United, bidding to join Arsenal with a record-equalling 13th FA Cup final victory, have fared better than Chelsea after securing a second place finish in the Premier League.
But Mourinho’s side trailed 19 points behind champions Manchester City and their manager’s cautious tactics in several big games, combined with a tame Champions League exit against Sevilla, led to pointed questions about their lack of progress.
United defender Phil Jones insists winning the third major trophy of Mourinho’s reign would make this season a step in the right direction.
“I really don’t think we’re far away. We’ll always have our critics because we’re Man United, but it shows that we’re moving in the right direction under him,” Jones said.
“I think finishing second and winning the FA Cup probably would be satisfactory, but we always want to win more.
“This club is so used to winning things. It is part of the history of this club. We cannot stand still. We can’t just let the FA Cup final pass.”

Cee-C Signs Endorsement Deal With House Of Lunettes (Photos)

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Cee-C Signs Endorsement Deal With House Of Lunettes (Photos)
Cee-c signs endorsement deal with Eyewear brand
 
Former Big Brother Naija housemate, Cee-C has bagged an endorsement deal as an ambassador of Eyewear brand - House of Lunettes.
 
The Eyewear brand took to its official page to share the photos and wrote: "Welcoming @ceec_official to the @house_of_lunettes family as a Brand Ambassador.
 

Cee-c’s fashion sense and love for trendy Eyewear makes her a unique choice as “Face of Lunettes”. We are looking forward to a remarkable campaign of Cee-c in our new affordable Eyewear brands that are fashionable and well priced for our customers across the country."
 

Whatsapp, other OTTs slash 81% of operators’ revenue in 13 years

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Whatsapp, other OTTs slash 81% of operators’ revenue in 13 years•MTN’s Q1 revenue hit N81.4 billion
Operations of the Over the top (OTT) players, including WhatsApp, WeChat, Viper, Skype, Google, have slashed about $17.8 (81%) from the Average Revenue per User (ARPU) of the Mobile Network Operators in the country within the last 13 years.
ARPU, which was around $22 in 2005, has dropped by 81 per cent to $4.14 as at April, 2018. ARPU is a measure used primarily by consumer communications, digital media, and networking companies, defined as the total revenue divided by the number of subscribers.
A study carried out by Tekedia, with focus on operators, showed that though competition has been much in the sector, the OTT services have seriously reduced operators’ revenue, not only in Nigeria, but across the globe.
It noted that when the ARPU dropped to $18 in 2006, the country already had Glo and Airtel (Econet, Zain, Celnet), meaning that the reduction of ARPU is not just on direct industry competition, but that the OTTs are having a real effect.
Already, Ovum, an independent analyst and consultancy had revealed that the growing adoption of OTT services by customers instead of traditional telecoms services will occasion global revenue loss of $386 billion over a period of six years (2012 – 2018) for the traditional telecom operators, thus endangering network development.
According to Ovum, the increasing usage of OTT services by customers is adversely impacting on traditional telecom platforms in several ways, as a 2016 data shows the voice minutes have been declining due to the impact of OTT.
The report noted that telecom operators are losing money to OTT players who do not invest in infrastructure, but offer voice, video and messaging services free of charge to their users. They do not also pay taxes and not answerable to any regulation.
On the impact of OTTs operations on operators, the Association of Licensed Telecommunication Operators of Nigeria (ALTON), have times without numbers complained that the OTT services are impacting negatively on their operations, especially as it concerns revenue generation.
Chairman of ALTON, Gbenga Adebayo, said that OTTs utilize traditional MNO infrastructure to drive huge advertising revenues, thereby leaving the operators with dwindling revenue.
“Telecom Operators (Telcos) incur the costs to invest a lot on network infrastructure in order to provide basic and innovative services to customers, yet OTT players make the money,” ALTON said.
But in an interaction with journalists in Lagos, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) Executive Director, Stakeholders Management, Sunday Dare, challenged the operators to become more innovative. He stressed that NCC won’t regulate technology.
Meanwhile, MTN Q1 2018 report showed that the South African firm made about N81 billion in revenue.
Going by the report, MTN had ARPU of $4.14 for the 54,528,527 subscribers it recorded for Q1 2018; the implication is that MTN Nigeria made revenue of $225,748,101.78 for the quarter. In Nigeria, using the reported ARPU in Naira, the revenue was N81.4 billion for the quarter.
Glo, Airtel and 9mobile all have subscriber base of 39.04 million, 38.9 million and 16.3 million respectively.
The Group result showed that MTN Nigeria increased service revenue by 14.4 per cent YoY, led by a
73.2 per cent increase in data revenue and 15.2 per cent growth in voice revenue. While the increase in voice revenue was encouraging, it was supported by the lower customer spend on VAS. As growth in our digital services is expected to resume in the latter part of the year, this may impact growth rates in voice revenue.
MTN Nigeria reported net additions in the quarter of 2.3 million following on from the 2.0 million additions in 4Q17 as the business benefited from the increase in SIM registration footprint.

Governors Threaten NNPC Over Fuel Subsidy

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Governors Threaten NNPC Over Fuel Subsidy
Governors threaten NNPC over fuel subsidy
 
National Economic Council (NEC), comprising the 36 State Governors in the country has threatened to take over the responsibility of subsidising petroleum products in their states based on consumption following the huge amount of money being spent by the NNPC as fuel subsidy payment annually.
 
The Chairman of Governors’ Forum, Gov. Abdulazeez Yari of Zamfara who stated this while responding to questions after the meeting of NEC which was chaired by Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo at the presidential villa, Abuja on Thursday, said the governors would next month (June) take decision on whether to take responsibility for the subsidy in their states or not.
 
He described as outrageous the N800billion being expended by the NNPC as subsidy, saying that NEC must decide whether to allow NNPC to continue with the payment or not.
 
“Our problem is the volume, the quantity of consumption which is not acceptable.

“Working with the governors so many decisions were taken but by next month, we are going to adopt that position either for the governors to take responsibility for the subsidy in their states based on the consumption or we look at other ways.

“For instance, if you say we paid N800 billion subsidy, you will ask who are we paying the subsidy to? And if you look at infrastructure development and capital programme of the Federal Government, it is about N1.1 trillion, almost 70 per cent of what you are spending on developing the economy.

“If there is no infrastructure development then you cannot talk about development of the economy. N800 billion is a huge amount that we must look at it, who is benefiting from it.

“So we are coming up with a strategy, we are going to meet in the month of May and June. By next meeting, we will definitely come up with a position of the government at both level of volume of what is being brought into the country and what the state and Federal Government collaborate to check,’’ he said.
 
The governor revealed that the Minister of State for Industry, Trade and Investment briefed the NEC on the establishment of the Nigerian Industrial Policy and Competitiveness Advisory Council which was approved by Federal Executive Council (FEC) in 2017.
 
“The Industrial Council recognises that there is need for collaboration between the Federal Government (FG), State and Local Government to drive the industrialisation agenda.

“The briefing today was to present the eight initiatives and recommendations from the Industrial Council that requires State Governments intervention,’’ he added.
 
Yari said the Advisory Council requested NEC to approve the proposals to address the bottlenecks identified in order to drive the Industrialisation agenda.
 
He, however, said that the Council while welcoming the prayers resolved that the Nigeria Communication Commission should go and outline its plans and communicate same to the State Governors in the next meeting.

Nigeria will get its first nuclear energy plant by the mid 2020s.

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Nigeria will get its first nuclear energy plant by the mid 2020s.
The President, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the Nigeria Atomic Energy Commission (Nigatom), Simon Pesco Mallam, made the disclosure at the just-concluded 2018 AtomExpo in Sochi, Russia.
Mallam told The Guardian exclusively: “We have a roadmap and that is by the mid 2020s. We hope we can get a commercial plant and add three more in five to 10 years.”
As to whether Nigeria would be partnering with Russia or not, he said: “We have a good agreement with Russia, but we have not signed any contractual agreements yet. We have signed operational agreements, project development agreements, but not any commercial contractual agreements.”
On when the deal could become reality, he said: “I can’t give a particular time, so you don’t come back and say I promised you so and so date. But just know that it is in the works, and in a few years, we will all see the results.”
Mallam refuted reports that Nigeria had signed multi-billion dollar agreements. “Some newspapers (not The Guardian) have been claiming that we signed a $20 billion contract with Russia. But I want to tell you categorically that this is not true. We have only cooperation agreement with Russia, and we are hoping that if all works well, we would develop the infrastructure and eventually sign a contractual agreement with them. But we are not closing our doors to other partners that may be interested and are ready to work with them. If we work with Russia, fine. But if we need to work with others, we are fine with that as well,” he said.
Mallam’s rebuttal was of the story that Nigeria in October 2017 signed a deal with Russia for the construction of two nuclear power plants. It claimed: Nigeria began talks with Russia’s State Atomic Energy Corporation, Rosatom, in April 2015 to collaborate on design, construction and operation of four nuclear power plants by 2035, the first of which will be in operation by 2025. In June 2015, Nigeria selected two sites for the planned construction of the nuclear plants. Neither the Nigerian government nor Rosatom would disclose the specific locations of the sites, but it is believed that the plants would be sited in the states of Akwa Ibom and Kogi.
Nuclear energy is the future for Nigeria, said Mallam. “Power generation is still very poor in the country, and even gas that was touted as better has now become problematic. We can’t supply gas to our IPPs and gas pipes are being sabotaged daily. We need to move from the former way of doing things into the future,” he added.
But Zambia might already have stepped into tomorrow as it signed a contract for the construction of a Centre for Nuclear Science and Technology with Rosatom.
The centre will be located 10 kilometres from the capital, Lusaka. It will include a nuclear research facility based on a multipurpose research water-cooled reactor of up to 10 MW, a state-of-the-art laboratory complex, multipurpose irradiation centre as well as a cyclotron-based nuclear medicine centre.
The project will be implemented in several stages within three to six years from the work commencement date stated in the contract.
The General Director of State Specialised Design Institute JSC (GSPI), Vyacheslav Galushkov, signed the document on behalf of Russia, while the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Higher Education of the Republic of Zambia, Mabvuto Sakala, signed on behalf of his country. The General Director of Rosatom Alexey Likhachev and Minister of Energy of the Republic of Zambia, Mathew Nkhuwa, witnessed the signing.
The construction of the centre is the first joint project between both countries in the field of nuclear technology.

Photos From The Burial Of Nollywood Star, Aisha Abimbola In Canada

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Photos From The Burial Of Nollywood Star, Aisha Abimbola In Canada
The  cemetery
 
The late Nigerian actress, Aisha Abimbola has finally been buried in Canada.
 
It will be recalled that the Nollywood star who is more popularly known as Omoge Campus, lost her life to the cold hands of death at Scarborough general hospital, Canada.
 
The actress was said to have battled breast cancer which led to her drastic weight loss and death.
 
Aisha Abimbola was finally laid to rest amidst tears at Meadowvale Cemetery, Cremation and funeral Centre, Brampton, in Canada around 2:45 pm yesterday.
 
It was gathered that the burial was coordinated by Lola Alao who has been taken care of her during her last moments. Omoge Campus as she was fondly called, was buried in a whitish / Brownish casket, by her children and friends.
 
Below are the first pictures of Aisha Bimbola (Omoge campus) burial:
 
 
 

16.5.18

Senate panel raises 2018 budget from N8.612trillion to N9.120trillion

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 Senate panel raises 2018 budget from N8.612tr to N9.120tr

The Senate Committee on Appropriation has increased the 2018 budget from N8.612 trillion to N9.120 trillion. The Chairman of the committee, Danjuma Goje, laid the report before the Senate, yesterday, amid expectations that the budget bill might be considered and passed next week.
Although the details are yet to be unveiled, the synopsis showed that N530,421,368,624 is for statutory transfer; N2,203,835,365,699 for debt service; N199b for sinking fund for maturing loans; N3,516,477,902,077 for recurrent (non-debt) expenditure, and N2,869,600,351,825 for development fund for capital expenditure.
The life span of the 2017 budget expires May 31, 2018.
President Muhammadu Buhari had presented a budget proposal of N8.612trillion on November 7, 2017. Since then, the budget bill has suffered setbacks due to face-offs between the executive and legislative arms of government.
On several occasions, the Senate had accused heads of Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) of refusing to honour invitations to defend budgets proposed for their organisations.
The Senate, however, has adjourned plenary session till today, without a word on when the report would be considered.
Spokesman Abdullahi Sabi Aliu said, last week, that there would be no difference between the bill passed by the Senate and the one passed by the House of Representatives.
"The good thing is that it is a joint work between the House and the Senate.
So, whatever is laid in the Senate would be exactly the same thing that will be laid in the House of Representatives. And we are going to consider it the same day," Sabi said.
Also, at the House of Representatives, yesterday, the Mustapha Bala Dawaki-led House Committee on Appropriation laid the report at the plenary presided over by Deputy Speaker Sulaimon Yussuf Lasun.
Lasun said the House would consider the report at noon tomorrow.
Meanwhile, stakeholders at the ongoing public hearing on the Petroleum Industry Administration, Fiscal and Host Community Bills, have expressed concern over the nation’s loss of investments worth $250 billion, a situation they blamed on the absence of supportive legislations for the oil and gas industry reform.
Members of the Oil Producers Trade Section (OPTS), comprising 28 indigenous and international operators of 90 per cent of the oil and gas sector applauded the ingenuity of the National Assembly on the bill.
They, however, frowned on provisions for the relinquishment of licensed areas, as well as retrospective legislations on the relinquishment of fees after seven years.
They kicked against the punitive legislation on the revocation of licence over delay in the submission of data, as well as the $2/mmbtu on gas flaring. They recommended instead $0.5 or its equivalent in naira at the prevailing exchange rate per 1,000 standard cubic feet of gas in the case of routine flaring.
According to a joint statement by the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) and the Nigerian Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG), Nigeria has lost some $250 billion worth of investments due to its inability to legislate on the proposed reforms.
They gave the breakdown as: “$15b yearly in investments withheld or diverted to other countries because of uncertainty, as investors do not know which rules will guide their investments; and another $14.7b potential earnings in seven years (2010-2017), had the Petroleum Industry Bill been passed into law in 2009."
They observed that the tax burden on the operators could render many deepwater and gas projects less attractive and recommended the calculation of cost efficiency factors by increasing the percentage of revenue used in the computation to at least 30 per cent.
The oil workers also aligned with the OPTS and independent producers on overbearing powers conferred on the National Petroleum Regulatory Commission, just as they kicked against indiscriminate award of oil blocs to former or serving public officers or members of government.
To ensure adequate funding of the Host Community Development Fund, the unions noted that the 2.5 per cent operating budget is inadequate, while the oil and gas companies expressed concern that the bill imposes additional financial burden on those who are already paying taxes, fees and royalties.

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