WASHINGTON (AFP) – US President Barack Obama on Wednesday lauded his next national security advisor Susan Rice as an “exemplary public servant,” implicitly shrugging off Republican criticism of her qualifications.
Obama formally announced that Rice, currently ambassador to the UN, would take over from Tom Donilon in July, in an appointment which defies Republican claims that she misled Americans over the attack on the US mission in Benghazi.
He said that Rice, an “exemplary public servant,” was a trusted advisor who understands that “there is no substitute for American leadership.” Read more…
Switzerland – Politicians and military dictators who before now found a safe haven in Switzerland for their stolen funds may start looking elsewhere for such loots as the Swiss Government yesterday proposed a law to block such transactions and return the looted fund to its country of origin.
Described as the first of its kind by the Swiss Foreign Ministry, the new law will “make it easier to freeze assets stolen and salted away by foreign leaders and return them to their countries of origin” Reuters reported.
The report explained that the draft law would allow Switzerland to freeze the assets of so-called politically exposed persons, or PEPs, as a preventative measure and would set up a framework to confiscate and return assets to the countries from which they were taken.
“The focus is on making the restitution of stolen assets more efficient,” the Swiss Foreign Ministry was quoted as saying, adding “The draft Act – the first of its kind in the world – contains a set of clear provisions that will be helpful in this effort.” Read more…
MADRID (Reuters) – Spain paid higher rates on medium-term debt for the first time since early February, at an auction on Thursday, a sign that a global liquidity flows into countries on the periphery of the euro zone could be drying up.
Spain sold 4 billion euros ($5.15 billion) at a triple-bond sale, meeting its issuance target, and yields rose on bonds maturing in three, five and 13 years.
Spanish yields had fallen steadily for months as investors hunted for higher returns amid loose monetary policy, encouraging them to ignore the nation’s sickly economy and focus on the European Central Bank’s promise to protect the euro.
The pressure on Spain’s liquidity situation has eased since it peaked last summer, said Raj Badiani of IHS Global Insight but economic problems showed no signs of abating. The economy is slumping for a second year and joblessness continues to rise. Read more…
Business News – The gross earnings of Guaranty Trust Bank (GTB), Zenith Bank, Access Bank, Skye Bank and Enterprise Bank rose to N388.9 billion last year, according to data compiled by The Nation.
GTB’s gross earnings were N221.9 billion and profit after tax was N87.3 billion, indicating 68.7 per cent leap from N51.7 billion in 2011. Further review shows that the bank recorded a slight growth in risk assets, with its loan book expanding by 11 per cent year on year – almost flat at 0.3 per cent quarter-on-quarter.
The bank grew deposits by 11.9 per cent last year despite what is believed to be the restrictive monetary policy of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN). Read more…
Business News – Despite its N60 billion potentials, microfinance banks (MfBs) in Nigeria are not showing interest in micro-finance insurance (MfI), it has been learnt.
Last year, the National Insurance Commission (NAICOM) unveiled plans to exploit the MfI potentials using the MfBs.
According to operators, the inability of underwriters to have well-defined and simple products may mar the success of the initiative.
Managing Director, LAPO Microfinance Bank Limited, Mr Godwin Ehigiamusoe, said some operators were sceptical about the terms and conditions of various products offered by insurance firms and may not be obliged to patronise them.
Ehigiamusoe said the products were too complex, adding that they are too high for a sub-sector that is struggling to make profit.
Insurance firms, he said, had not done enough to convince the banks on the need to buy into the initiative. Read more…