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Coronavirus : Trump on Pressure to Give up on Lockdowns and Reopen the Economy.

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Trump on Pressure to Give up on Lockdowns and Reopen the Economy.

White House coronavirus task force are urging President Donald Trump to abandon its social distancing policies and reopen the economy. 

Primetime host Tucker Carlson argued on his Thursday night program that “one of the main lessons of this crisis is that the public health establishment failed us badly” by recommending stay-home orders and other social distancing policies that are hurting the economy. 

“What would’ve happened, for example, if we’d adopted a more conventional response to this epidemic?” Carlson said.

“What if we’d asked the elderly and immunocompromised and anyone else facing statistically higher rates of risk to stay inside, cloistered away? And then at the same time allow the rest of the population to use informed common sense and continue to work?” 

He continued, “What if we’d done that a month ago? Would the death rate today be much higher than it is now? Maybe, maybe not. We don’t know.

According to Carlson, a conversation should’ve been held before locking down the entire country and put 10 million people out of work.

However, the decision was outsourced to public health officials who suggested that the only way to slow the spread of the virus and prevent thousands, if not millions, of deaths is to keep people at home until modeling shows it’s safe to reopen businesses, schools, and public places. 

Fox News commentator Melissa Francis argued on Friday that the virus is “everywhere already” in New York and she’s “losing faith” in the stay-home orders states have implemented across the country as the economy implodes.

However, She suggested the economic fallout from the lockdown is scarier than the deadly virus itself. 

“It does seem like it’s spread all over New York, so at this point I don’t know about the efficacy of staying inside indefinitely,” Francis said.  

Fox News host Harris Faulkner, who Trump recently called “one of my favorite people,” pushed back gently on Francis and interrupted to ask a doctor on the panel to give her perspective.

The doctor, Janette Nesheiwat, argued “you can’t put a price tag on lives.” 

On “Fox and Friends,” one of the president’s favorite Fox programs, co-host Brian Kilmeade argued on Friday that the economic damage from the virus is avoidable. 

“This is a self-inflicted wound, it’s a slow-motion car wreck that we brought on ourselves,” Kilmeade said. “We should talk about how many people are working … I’d rather find out the 20% that are still on their jobs … we’re an anomaly now.” said Kilmeade.

However Some governors have so far refused to issue statewide stay home orders in their states. 

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, is frustrated with the lack of a federal mandate and on Thursday said “I don’t understand why” the president hasn’t issued a nation-wide stay home order. 

Several Fox News hosts are making cases that the economic fallout from widespread lockdowns will be a greater price to pay than the additional lives that would be lost if the economy reopens.

Few hours ago, Trump tweeted, “WE CANNOT LET THE CURE BE WORSE THAN THE PROBLEM ITSELF.”

Since then, many of the president’s allies have argued that older Americans and others more vulnerable to the disease should sacrifice themselves for the good of the economy.

During his Thursday night program, Carlson defended Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, who argued that “lots of grandparents” were willing to die of COVID-19 if it meant the economy could get back up and running more quickly.

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Economy

Twitter makes Ghana its headquarters in Africa, Nigerians React

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Twitter makes Ghana its headquarters in Africa, Nigerians React

Twitter announced today that the company is now in Africa, with its headquarters in Ghana.

“Twitter is now present on the continent. Thank you Ghana and @NakufoAddo,” Twitter CEO, Jack Dorsey tweeted today, April 12.

Abubakar Suleiman, the CEO of Sterling Bank, has weighed in on the conversation about Twitter making Ghana its headquarters in African.

Nigerians reacted to the fact that Ghana, and not Nigeria, was chosen to be the headquarters.

Then Suleiman tweeted: “First you tell the world Nigeria is a zoo.. Then you hear @TwitterSF has chosen @GhanaPresidency as their WA headquarters & you are wondering why.

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“If you can’t sell yourself, nobody will buy you. Nigeria remains the heartbeat of Africa, our current struggles notwithstanding.”

Bank CEO, Abubakar Suleiman blames Nigerians who bad-mouth the country for Twitter’s decision to make Ghana its headquarters in Africa

See Nigerians Reactions Below;

A number of his followers took to the comments to disagree with him and he doubled down, writing: “I think everyone sells. And we should showcase the good things in our country even as we critic the shortcomings..”

 

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Economy

CBN crashes liquidity mop-up activities, raises treasury bills

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CBN reduces liquidity mop up activities through Treasury bills

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) drastically reduced its liquidity mop up activities through treasury bills by 81 percent, year-on-year, y/y, to N793 billion in the first quarter of the year (Q1’21).

The apex bank, among other things, controls money supply (liquidity) in the economy by issuing or purchasing secondary market treasury bills, also known as Open Market Operations (OMO) when it wants to reduce money supply, while it injects liquidity by purchasing OMO treasury bills.

The CBN reduced the amounts of OMO bills offered by 80 per cent, y/y, to N858 billion in Q1’21, from N4.26 trillion in Q1’2020.  Similarly, the amount of bills sold fell by 81 per cent, y/y, to N793 billion in Q1’21  from N4.44 trillion in Q1’2020.  In the same vein, the amount of OMO TBs demanded by the banks and FPIs  (public subscription)  fell by 41 per cent, y/y, to N3.13 trillion in Q1’21 from N5.31 trillion in Q1’2020.

Further analysis of OMO TBs sold in Q1’21 showed that the CBN offered N103 billion worth of 91-Days bills but sold N85 billion while the public subscription stood at N248.6 billion.

Meanwhile the apex bank raised yields (interest rate) on the  OMO TBs apparently to increase the attractiveness of the bills to foreign portfolio investors, FPIs, and enhance foreign exchange inflow.  Financial Vanguard analysis showed that average yield (stop rate) for  OMO bills rose  by 4.55 percentage points to 8.53 per cent at the end of March from 3.98 per cent at the end of December last year.

The CBN raised the stop rate for 91-Days OMO bills by 5.3 percentage points to 7.0 per cent in  March from 1.61 per cent in December. It also raised the stop rate for  182-Days OMO bills by 4.05 percentage points to 8.5 per cent in March from 4.45 per cent in December. Similarly, the stop rate for  365-Days bills rose by 4.2 percentage points to 10.1 per cent in March from 5.9 per cent in December.

These were in sharp contrast to the downward trend recorded last year  when average yield on OMO TBs crashed by 8.13 percentage points as the CBN slashed stop rate for  91-Days, 182-Days, 365-Days OMO bills respectively  by 9.87 percentage points, 7.15 percentage points and 7.36 percentage points respectively from 11.48 per cent, 11.6 per cent and 13.26 per cent at the beginning of the year.

While citing this reversal in the yields on OMO TBs and other fixed income instruments as a factor behind the negative performance of the Nigeria Stock Exchange, NSE, in Q1’21, analysts at United Capital Plc,  projected that the upward trend in yields on fixed income instruments will persist in Q2’21. They said:

“Like we noted, the bearish sentiment in the equity market has been stoked by fast-paced reversal in the yield environment. The peak of the reversal appears to be distant even though the pace of increase at recent auctions (Bonds & T-bills) seems to have slowed. We expect upward pressure on yields to garner pace later in Q2-2020 depending on the outcome of the May MPC meeting as well as data from economic recovery.”

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CBN gets order to freeze 194 accounts in 17 banks

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CBN gets order to freeze 194 accounts in 17 banks

The Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN has secured three separate interim orders from a Federal High Court in Abuja to freeze bank accounts linked to 194 business entities and individuals in 17 banks.

This was contained in a post by the apex bank on its website yesterday pursuant to the court order. The freeze orders were sequel to three exparte applications filed by the apex bank seeking a mandatory order of the court to ask the 17 banks to freeze the account of the business organizations and individual pending the outcome of an ongoing investigation the apex bank had initiated.

In one of the suits against Nuru Abubakar and 24 others, the court granted the request by CBN to freeze the account of the defendants in the banks for 45 days. Justice A.R Muhammed who made the order in his ruling on March 30, 2021, said: “An interim order is hereby made empowering the applicant to direct the head office of the listed banks to freeze forthwith all transactions on the bank account of the defendants for a period of 45 days pending the outcome of investigation and inquiry currently being conducted by CBN.”

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In another suit filed by CBN against Sethwealth Ventures and two others, the court granted an exparte application by the apex bank to freeze 50 accounts linked to the three defendants in 13 banks. A similar order was also made in the suit by CBN against Bluebeam Capital Ltd freezing 60 accounts of the company in 13 banks.

The 17 banks affected are Access Bank, First City Monument Bank, Fidelity Bank, Sterling Bank, Keystone Bank, Providus Bank, United Bank for Africa (UBA), Wema Bank and First Bank. Others are Guaranty Trust Bank, Ecobank Bank, Heritage Bank, Polaris Bank, Zenith Bank, Stanbic IBTC Bank, Standard Chartered Bank and Union Bank.

The companies affected include Bluebeam Capital Limited, Sethwealth Ventures, Seasons Bureau De Change, Lat-Ade Logistics, Sani Polo Global Investment Ltd, Saneo Global Resources Limited and Romvic Ventures Nigeria Limited.

 

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