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Huawei ‘to go extra mile’ to reassure world on 5G spying

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A senior figure at Huawei in the UK has told Sky News it is willing to go the “extra mile” to reassure countries its technology poses no security threat.

Jeremy Thompson, the Chinese telecom giant’s executive vice president, was speaking as it attempted to calm security fears over its technology by offering to sign “non-spying” agreements – including with the UK government.

The prime minister has come under fire since sources confirmed last month that the National Security Council, chaired by Theresa May, had backed the use of Huawei technology in “non-core” 5G network infrastructure.

:: Huawei gets green light for UK 5G role

That was despite a warning from the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) and the US government that the company posed a threat.

President Donald Trump is expected to sign an executive order later on Wednesday banning US companies from using its technology.

While Huawei has always denied a link to espionage, it has a legal obligation to cooperate with China’s intelligence agencies.

Huawei has become one of the world's leading smartphone manufacturers

Huawei says it has never been asked to hand over data or information about its customers

The company says information has never been requested about its customers from the Chinese state and its founder has insisted he would rather shut down Huawei than accept any request to collect intelligence via its systems.

The issue of trust in the firm’s links to the Chinese government has become a wider issue for companies across China as the country’s trade war with the US escalates.

Washington accuses Beijing of intellectual property theft and forced transfers of technology.

Mr Thompson said Huawei recognised the concern but said those nations, including Japan and the US, that had banned Huawei tech from their 5G networks had “called it wrong”.

He told Ian King Live: “If it helps, we will sign a non-spying agreement with the UK government. There are mechanisms already in place within the UK in fact, according to the NCSC, the most rigorous activity with Huawei gloablly, but if it requires us to sign a non-spying agreement we’d be very happy to do that.

“We’re in unusual times and the press is full of articles… about ‘Huawei is not a company that they want to do business with’ so we recognise we need to go the extra mile.”

He accused the US of under-investing in its 5G network in contrast to the UK where he said plans were much further advanced – with 5G trials getting under way.

Vodafone confirmed this week it was continuing its plans to use Huawei technology, such as antennas, in its non-core network – in line with the limits placed on Huawei involvement agreed by the government.

Mr Thompson said the industry was largely awaiting the conclusions of a review by the government before committing to 5G expansion plans.

He spoke to the programme following the release of a report Huawei commissioned from Oxford Economics exploring its contribution to the UK economy.

The study claimed it had contributed £1.7bn last year and supported more than 26,000 jobs.

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Security Breach At MMIA: FAAN Suspends Security Chiefs Indefinitely

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Following the airside incursion at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos on Friday, the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) has suspended indefinitely the aviation security unit heads who were on duty when the incident occurred, pending completion of an ongoing investigation into the security infringement.

Passengers aboard a Port Harcourt-bound flight panicked on Friday after a yet-to-be-identified man climbed the aircraft while it was about to take-off at the Murtala Muhammed Airport, Ikeja.

According to a viral video shot by one of the passengers in Lagos, the man illegally gained access to the airside with a piece of hand luggage.

The video also showed that the man climbed the aircraft wing and deposited the bag inside one of the engines. The aircraft was at the holding bay expecting clearance for take-off when the incident occurred.

The man’s action caused panic and frenzy as some of the passengers immediately demanded that the pilot and cabin crew open the aircraft doors for them to disembark due to safety concerns.

The Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria said the so-called “mad man” who climbed one of the aircraft of Azman Air ready for take-off to Port Harcourt Airport had been arrested and kept in its custody.

FAAN said the investigation into the serious security breach had already started but did not give details, while the name of the intruder was not also revealed.

The agency, in a statement by its General Manager, Corporate Communications, Mrs Henrietta Yakubu said that the aircraft pilot of the aircraft was the one that first raised the alarm to its security outfit, Aviation Security (AVSEC).

According to her, the incident, which involved an aircraft with the registration number 5N-HAI, occurred at 10:09 a.m when the aircraft was ready for takeoff after a clearance from Air Traffic Controllers (ATC).

Yakubu said its officers responded swiftly to the emergency call.

“The pilot of the Azman aircraft with registration number 5N-HAI departing Lagos to Port Harcourt reported the incident and AVSEC officials swiftly responded. The man has been apprehended and is now in AVSEC’s custody.”

Yakubu explained that the aircraft immediately taxied back to the apron for a thorough check and departed for Port Harcourt afterwards.

Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) has since suspended indefinitely the aviation security unit heads who were on duty when the incident occurred.

The affected officers are the Airport Chief of Security; Mamman Mohammed Sadiku; International Terminal Security Officer, Oni Adedamola Abiodun; Head of Department Domestic Terminal 2, Owotor Kenneth Okezie and Head of Department Domestic Terminal 1, Badejo Adebowale Ayodele.

A statement by the General Manager, Public Affairs, FAAN, Mrs Henrietta Yakubu, stated that in the interim, a General Manager of the Authority, Dr Anne Enyinnaya-Egbadon, had been detailed to take charge of security at the airport. Other affected officers have also been replaced.

The current arrangement, she said was aimed at ensuring an efficient and thorough investigation towards the recovery and sustenance of the airport’s proactive security integrity.

FAAN views this breach as a serious security concern and has commenced an investigation to ascertain the remote and immediate causes of this incident to forestall future occurrence.’

Today’s security breach is not the first at the airport. It will be recalled that SaharaReporters had detailed how security at the Domestic Terminal of the Murtala Muhammed Airport, Lagos, appears compromised as faulty security equipment are being used to screen bags of travellers making use of the airport.






It was also discovered that security screeners deployed by the Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria to MMA Terminal Two are not certified by the National Civil Aviation Authority to carry out the screening.

SaharaReporters had previously reported how a Nigerian woman bypassed all security points at the international wing of the airport and attempted to sneak into a United States of America-bound Delta Air Line. She was, however, arrested by the security of the aeroplane, as she was about to board the plane.

It was reliably gathered that of the not less than 629 staff of FAAN Aviation Security at the Lagos airport, about 85 security personnel are NCAA screeners certified.




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NSE: Investors Net Worth Drops By N110 Billion

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The Nigerian equities market opened trading for the week on Monday on a negative mood with the market indicators shedding 0.79 percent.

Specifically, the market capitalization shed N110 billion or 0.79 percent to close at N13.812 trillion compared with N13.922 trillion achieved on Friday.

Also, the All-Share Index which opened at 28,566.79 dipped 225.76 points or 0.79 percent to close at 28,341.03, following price loses.

Investors traded 175.168 million shares worth N2.144 billion in 3111 deals against 100.373 million shares valued at N1.459 billion exchanged hands the previous day in 2,707 deals.

A breakdown of the price movement chart indicates that Total recorded the highest loss to lead the losers’ chart with N10 to close at N130 per share.

Dangote Cement trailed with a loss of N3 to close at N170, while Guaranty Trust Bank dipped by 90k to close at N29 per share.

MTN Nigeria Communications decreased by 65k to close at N129, while Eterna was down by 25k to close at N3.40 per share.

Conversely, Nestle led the gainers’ table, increasing by N3 to close at N1,228 per share.

Nigerian Breweries followed with a gain of 50k to close at N58.50, while Conoil appreciated by 40k to close at N20.40 per share.

Vitafoam added 16k to close at N3.70, while Dangote Flour gained 10k to close at N17.50 per share.

In spite of the drop in market indices, the volume of shares traded closed higher as investors bought and sold 175.17 million shares valued at N2.14 billion in 3,111 deals.

This was in contrast with a turnover of 100.37 million shares worth N1.46 billion traded in 2,707 deals on Friday.

Wapic Insurance was the toast of investors for the day, exchanging 42.03 million shares valued at N16.81 million.

United Bank for Africa followed with an account of 24.24 million shares worth N141.95 million, while Guaranty Trust Bank sold 16.04 million shares valued at N478.82 million.

Lasaco Insurance traded 15.11 million shares worth N4.68 million, while Transcorp accounted for 14.61 million shares valued at N15.02 million, News Agency of Nigeria reports.

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Coronation Research’s Nigeria weekly update: CBN goes for growth

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We are accustomed to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) limiting Naira liquidity for fear of upsetting the foreign exchange market. Now the CBN is unafraid of liquidity and is pushing growth – for now. Fixed income rates are falling. See page 2.

FX
This year US$18.79bn has flowed into the NAFEX market with Foreign Portfolio Investment (FPI) accounting for 65.40% of inflows (US$12.29bn). The CBN’s supply of US dollars to the NAFEX market has been 3.02% of inflows (US$0.57bn). In effect, FPI is supplying sufficient US dollars to take the pressure off the CBN, hence our confidence that the exchange rate will hold this year. And the CBN has new-found confidence to target growth.

Bonds & T-bills
The yield on a Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN) Naira bond with 10 years to maturity fell by 24bps to 13.95%, and at 3 years declined by 25bps to 13.20% last week. The yield on a 364-day T-bill fell by 51bps to 12.50%. The yield on a T-bill with 3 months to maturity declined by 27bps to 10.30%.

Investors are reacting to the CBN’s revised Standing Deposit Facility (SDF) placement by banks which is now capped at N2.0 billion (US$5.7 million) from N7.5 billion previously. The T-bill market is currently characterised by high demand and strong market liquidity which depressed yields this past week. In the absence of frequent Naira fixed income auctions by the CBN, we expect yields to be stable and not derail significantly from current levels. With this amount of liquidity in the market the initiative lies with the CBN to set rates.

Oil
The price of Brent rose by 3.99% last week to US$66.72/bbl. The average price, year-to-date, is US$66.10/bbl, 7.80% lower than the average of US$71.69/bbl in 2018, but 20.75% higher than the US$54.75/bbl average seen in 2017.

The 2019 oil market is themed by supply cuts, for the most part. The latest report from the International Energy Agency (IEA) shows that oil supply exceeded demand by 0.9 million barrels per day for the first half of the year. This comes on top of pre-existing stockpiles and rising shale production. With oil price protection in view, OPEC’s tightening measures are understandable, especially with the US/China trade war still unresolved.

Equities
The Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) All-Share Index lost 2.41% last week, resulting in a year-to-date return of negative 9.11%. Last week Cadbury Nigeria (+8.64%), Flour Mills of Nigeria (+8.00%) and Unilever Nigeria (+3.13%) closed positive while Forte Oil (-23.33%), PZ Cussons (-10.14%) and Nestle Nigeria (-8.92%) fell.

Last week saw the listing of Airtel Africa which closed the week at N323.50/share, down 18.98% from its listing price of N363.00/share. Such a reception continues to show weak investor sentiment in the market. While investors maintain a cautious stance on investing in equities, some stocks are trading close to multi-year lows and present a good entry point for investors, in our view.

The CBN pushes the growth pedal
The last few weeks have seen a flurry of activity from the CBN; a circular on mobile money & financial inclusion; hints of banking sector re-capitalisation 2.0; another circular prohibiting banks from a loan to deposit ratio less than 60%; and finally a ‘no thank you’ note to banks which may wish to park excess cash in the CBN vault, for excess cash balances above two billion Naira (US$5.6m).

What is the overall signal?
The CBN’s recent focus for the past two years has been on monetary stability. Following a 7.50 percentage point decline in inflation, a rise in foreign exchange reserves and hard-earned currency stability, one could argue that it has won the battle. And it has been helped by the downward prospects for US dollar interest rates, which take the pressure off emerging market currencies to some extent. Now the CBN can return to its other agenda. It wants economic growth.

Nigeria’s GDP growth rate mimics the growth rates of developed countries even though it isn’t one. One sign of sluggish growth has been slow growth in commercial bank loans, which suggests, among other things that the supply side of the economy is weak. The CBN’s approach to galvanising growth had been skewed towards the supply side, and it has deliberately held down loan rates in several areas, such as agriculture, in order to implement its policy. The problem with this initiative is that commercial bank loans have not grown as a result, leading the CBN to come up with more radical measures than before.

Typically banks keep cash balances when the CBN Open Market Operation (OMO) auctions are imminent, driving up overnight lending rates around auction dates. But there is a clear downward trend this year in the rate at which very short-term unsecured loans are traded between banks around OMO auction dates.

In fact, on 4 July the cost of overnight loans between banks fell to its lowest this year (4.86%) suggesting that for a given level of liquidity mop-up by the CBN, banks are willing to lend to themselves at cheaper rates than before. During H2 2018, this relationship was upward trending (when adjusted for outliers).

The CBN is attempting, through its circulars, to unlock excess liquidity trapped within the banking system in the hope that it will be channeled towards the real economy. Banks now have an extra incentive to target firms, and the affluent with (soft) loans when other forms of risk-free income become pressured.

All of this reads well for consumer spending, which is the dominant component of aggregate demand, but it may mean thinner margins for banks. The argument that banks may still expect to improve or maintain their margins without a corresponding expansion in loan books must be nuanced with the guidance that the CBN may restrict banks’ participation in the OMO and T-bill market for their own account. By and large, the CBN’s actions are likely to drag down interest rates until the point is reached where it finds Naira liquidity is negative for the currency.

Indeed, in our view the CBN may be wary of a steep reduction in market interest rates and what they could mean for the Naira exchange rate, on two counts. One, some of the excess liquidity in the banking system could find its way into the FX market. If stability remains a priority, the CBN will have to part with more of its dollar reserves. Two, moderating market interest rates could erode the appeal of the naira carry trade prompting foreign portfolio investors to unwind their positions.

But these are still early days, and we await the CBN’s upcoming auctions to learn more of its rate policy.

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