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Nigeria’s debt hits N24.39tn, rises by N2.66tn in one year

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Nigeria’s total debt profile as of December 31, 2018, now stands at N24.387tn. The figure swelled by 12.25 per cent from N21.725tn in 2017 to N24.39tn in 2018.

The debt rose by N2.66tn from December 31, 2017, to December 31, 2018, the Debt Management Office said.

Statistics provided by DMO in Abuja on Thursday showed that the country’s public debt rose from N21.73tn in 2017 to N24.39tn within the one year period.

According to the DMO, the year-on-year growth of public debt show a 12.25 per cent within the one year period.

Speaking at a press briefing in Abuja on Thursday, Director General of DMO, Patience Oniha, said the funds were borrowed to fund projects, to finance budget deficit and to refinance maturing obligations.

Particularly, she said, some foreign debt was used to refinance treasury bills because of the short tenor of the bills, adding that borrowing from abroad had also helped to stabilise the local currency in the last two years.

The DMO boss said that the Federal Government’s domestic debt stock included N331.12bn Promissory Notes issued to oil marketing companies and state governments in December 2018.

According to her, some targets that had been set in the country’s Debt Management Strategy had been achieved or nearly achieved. These include the plan to achieve a tenor of 75:25 ratio in favour of long tenor debts.

Oniha said the target had been surpassed as the country now had a 78:22 ratio in favour of long term debts.

She said, “The share of domestic debt dropped to 68.18 per cent from 73.36 per cent as of December 31, 2017, thereby achieving a mix of 68.18 per cent and 31.82 per cent in the debt stock.”

According to the DMO, the strategy of using relatively cheaper and longer tenured external funds is achieving the expected objectives.

Some of the objectives were to create more space for other borrowers in the domestic market, extend the average tenor of the debt stock in order to reduce refinancing risk and increase external reserves.

“The implementation of the strategy led to an injection of N855bn through the redemption of Nigerian Treasury Bills in 2018 and a general drop in the FGN’s borrowing rate in the domestic market from over 18 per cent per annum in 2017 to 14 to15 per cent per annum in 2018,” Oniha said.

Oniha said that borrowing for 2019 would be 50-50 split between domestic and external in striving to be consistent with the Debt Management Strategy 2013-2019 aimed at achieving a 60:40 ratio between domestic debt and external debt.

She said, “Relatively low-interest rates mean the government can issue longer-dated bonds to continue to fund infrastructure projects.

“Revenue generating initiatives are expected to improve revenues and reduce the debt service to revenue ratio.”

The DMO boss said that some of its major plans in 2019 included to undertake more of project-tied borrowing and to access more external borrowing from concessional sources.

It also announced plans to issue 30-year FGN Bonds for the first time. The issuance of the bond is expected to meet the needs of annuity funds and other long term investors while also developing the domestic capital market and reducing the re-financing risk of the Federal Government.

It added that another area of focus would be the management of risks associated with the debt stock and to mitigate debt service costs.

Speaking on the issuance of promissory notes, Oniha said, “Federal Executive Council approved the establishment of a Promissory Note Programme.

“The purpose is to use it to settle inherited local debts and contractual obligations of the Federal Government. The programme is estimated at N3.4tn.

“It will provide stimulus to the economy and unlock investment across a number of sectors currently having liquidity issues.”

She said that the programme would also have a positive impact on the non-performing loan ratios of banks, which would, in turn, increase the banks’ capacity to lend.

Oniha said that it would also enable the Federal Government to formally recognise and account for its true liabilities in line with the International Public Sector Accounting Standards.

Areas to be covered in the promissory note programme include contractors, exporters, judgement debts, state governments and oil marketing companies.

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Beats Solo Pro (Apple’s 1st on-ear, noise-cancelling headphones)

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Beats has finally joined the on-ear, noise-cancelling (NC) headphone fray, as these are the first from the Apple’s-owned audio brand to feature NC in this form factor.

Apple has shifted more than 30 million Solo headphones, and these are available in the usual array of natty colours one might expect from Beats. You can opt for six options comprising dark blue, light blue, red, black, ivory and grey.

The Solo Pro’s sound profile is supposedly an evolution of Beats’ Solo3 Wireless headphones, but this time with refined drivers and lower harmonic distortion. Two beam-forming mics and updated speech detection should help with voice and video calls as well as bossing about your digital assistant.

Concerning the active noise cancelling, the Solo Pros features the Pure Adaptive Noise Cancelling tech from Beats Studio3 Wireless, with an updated tuning to compensate for the on-ear form factor. This new tuning can apparently also deal with leakage caused by hairs, earrings, ear shapes and movement of ones head.

A ‘transparency’ function allows you to activate the external mics for a more natural filter on the ANC so you can better hear outside noises such as traffic or conversations. The mode button on the left ear cup switches between Pure ANC and Transparency. Other controls are housed on the right ear cup where you can answer/end calls, play/pause music, skip songs, control volume and activate voice command. Another nice touch is the Solo Pros have no power button as they are turned on when you unfold the headphones then powers down when you fold them up.

Apple’s Solo Pro is promises up to 22 hours on Pure ANC or Transparency and up to 40 hours with them turned off. Recharge times are three hours of playback with a 10-minute charge. Sadly there’s no USB-C just lightning.

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Challenges of Data Management in the Financial Sector

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Over the past years, the financial sector has undergone significant
transformation, tools such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), cloud computing and robotics have greatly impacted how banks, insurance companies and technology players are delivering various financial products to customers, and data is at the heart of it all.

For organisations it is not only critical to have a data management system in place, but it is a necessity to survive in a highly competitive market. With a flood of technological advancement, the world is constantly evolving in order to keep up. Data has become an extremely valuable resource and it is important for all organisations in the financial sector to look at ways to manage this data correctly. Most organisations see data as a commodity and the last thing they want to do is lose or misuse it thereby forcing the need for increased and improved data protection policies across all platforms, cloud applications and more. At the same time, there is calls for transparency regarding how data is collected and shared which leads us to the concept of data
management.

BIG DATA

The financial sector has a lot of data at its fingertips, but the challenge of collating this data and making it work in a performant and auditable fashion is experienced. Everyday there is billions of transactions that take place and extracting valuable data from those transactions can be difficult. The biggest challenge lies in turning this vast amount of data into insightful data, although this can be time consuming, even the smallest detail can lead to a competitive advantage over competitors. Sorting through torrents of unstructured data for useful information is a substantial task which cannot be undervalued.

To survive in a highly competitive market high-quality data analytics is required. Advanced analytics paired with good data management technology can help detect threats and uncover untapped opportunities thus leading to that competitive edge organisations thirst for. Big data provides multiple challenges for financial service providers as we have seen but, it also provides timely opportunities such as valuable business insights. It is important to find the right data platform to allow for that.

INCREASED PRESSURE

The financial sector is accumulating data at an alarming rate which inevitably puts strain on the system. This has increased pressure on organisations to have a reliable data management system in place. As time passes, an organisations system will accumulate more data and thus more pressure. Having a functioning data management system is essential to eliminate the potential risk of downtime. Data management is a good way to counter act this problem but there are still other forces putting pressure on the financial sector; such as instantaneous responses, personal customer service and constant regulatory changes.

Many believed that digital technology such as AI and machine learning would help simplify the increased pressure, but we are still far from reaping those benefits. As there is no new technology better placed to replace a well-run data- management platform, the options can be quite limited. One of those leading options is enterprise data management (EDM), it can centralise and organise data while making it accessible and useable. Implementing an intelligent EDM is a necessary component when handling increased pressure for any business.

CYBER SECURITY

Like other sectors, the financial sector is increasingly reliant on data and new technological developments which means there is a necessity to limit the dangers of cyber threats. The financial sector views cyber security as a top priority due to the countless problems it can cause. Time to time we see more and more data breaches involving financial service firms, so it is of paramount importance to incorporate innovative solutions to limit the damages caused by a breach.

The financial sector has leaned heavily on Blockchain technology as it is deemed to be the next top end solution, An incorruptible digital ledger of economic transactions that can be programmed to record not just financial transactions but virtually everything of value.

It is quite difficult to tamper with data stored on Blockchain, but it is also difficult to ensure the data stored has integrity. Enterprise data management can accurately and safely transfer data, but it is not “one size fits all” as every organisation has different needs. Organisations in the financial sector should prioritize this particularly as they deal with data privacy. Data management is an integral part to any organisation as data is an extremely valuable resource and the importance of data management to the financial sector cannot be underestimated. Any organisation with an accessible and secure data management platform in place is in prime position to take advantage of an increasingly open landscape.

Slowly but surely data analytics solutions are emerging which organisations need to take advantage of and data management is a fundamental part of this process. The digital landscape has changed but expectation with employees, partners and customers has not. The financial sector is in a strong place as is reflective in the continued popularity of business and finance-related third-level courses. One thing is clear, the modern financial sector is and will continue to be powered by data.

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