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World Bank President says obligation dropping expected to support least fortunate nations

as Covid-19 pandemic could trigger obligation emergencies in certain countries

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The World Bank President, David Malpass, has advocated that debt cancellation is needed by the poorest countries as the COVID-19 pandemic could trigger a debt crisis in some nations.

While making the disclosure during a media interview on Sunday, Malpass said investors must be ready to grant some form of relief that could also include debt cancellation.

The World Bank boss was quoted during the interview as saying, “It is evident that some countries are unable to repay the debt they have taken on. We must therefore also reduce the debt level. This can be called debt relief or cancellation. It is important that the amount of debt is reduced by restructuring.’’

Malpass spoke about similar steps in previous financial crises such as in Latin America and the so-called HIPC initiative for highly indebted countries in the 1990s.

It can be recalled that rich countries last month supported an extension of the G20’s Debt Service Suspension Initiative (DSSI), approved in April to help developing nations survive the coronavirus pandemic, which has seen 43 of potential 73 eligible countries defer $5 billion in official sector debt payments.

The Debt Service Suspension Initiative will help free resources for developing countries to respond to the challenges posed by the coronavirus pandemic.

He renewed his call for private banks and investment funds to also get involved amid warnings that the pandemic could push 100 million people into extreme poverty.

Malpass said, “These investors are not doing enough and I am disappointed with them. Also, some of the major Chinese lenders did not get enough involved. The effect of the aid measures is therefore less than it could be.’

He warned that the pandemic could triggeranother debt crisis as some developing countries had already entered a downward spiral of weaker growth and financial trouble.

The World Bank boss also added, “The enormous budget deficits and debt payments are overwhelming these economies. In addition, the banks there are getting into difficulties due to bad loans.’’

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FG launches application for N75 billion Youth Investment Fund at 5% interest, how to apply

FG has flagged off the application for the N75 billion Nigeria Youth Investment Fund.

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The Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports Development, on Thursday, October 15, 2020, flagged off the application for the N75 billion Nigeria Youth Investment Fund (NYIF) recently approved by the Federal Government.

During the launch of the application, the Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Sunday Dare, said that the NYIF underscored the importance placed on youths by the current administration.

The Minister said that the fund, which is an initiative of the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports Development and funded by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), would be spread over 3 years to cater to youth-owned businesses and investment needs.

Sunday Dare stated, “I must mention the support we enjoyed from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), which in line with the President’s directive, provided the initial N12.5 billion required for the Fund to operate in the remaining part of the year 2020.

“We are also grateful that the Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning has on its part, committed to providing the next tranche of the fund in the 2021 budget.’

The Minister said that the loan, provided under the NYIF, has an interest rate of 5% per annum and a tenor of 5 years with a moratorium of up to 12 months.

He explained that any youth who wished to apply as an individual or a non-registered business could draw up to N250,000, while youth-owned registered businesses could apply for up to N3 million.

Going further, he said, “Our commitment to seeing the youth succeed is such that the loan is bundled with training that will ensure business sustainability for successful applicants.

“It is my belief that the fund will grow to become a permanent feature of our society, where beneficiaries run successful businesses and repay the loans.”

The Minister said that application is available on the Nigeria Youth Investment Fund Application Portal on NIRSAL Microfinance Bank’s site, www.nmfb.com.ng; and the ministry’s website, www.youthandsport.gov.ngor www.noya.ng.

Applicants are expected to provide their Names, Email address, and Website (if available).

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Coronavirus

US Tennis player Sam Querrey accused of fleeing Russia on private jet after testing positive for COVID-19

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33 year old US tennis player Sam Querrey, has been accused of fleeing Russia on a private jet after he and his family tested positive for Covid-19.

Querrey and his wife had tested positive for the virus ahead of the St. Petersburg Open this week and were placed in quarantine at a  hotel, according to the tournament organizers.

Doctors had recommended Querrey and his family be moved to a private apartment but he did not allegedly answer the door when doctors were dispatched to evaluate his condition.

“Sam Querrey was scheduled to retest on Thursday, October 15, however, instead of acting in accordance with ATP rules and the tournament’s sanitary protocol, Sam Querrey was recorded leaving the hotel by hotel security cameras at 5.45 a.m. on October 13, with his family, without notifying the reception,”

“As Querrey told the ATP representative, he and his family left Russia on a private plane.” read a statement from organizers.

The ATP which is the World tennis controlling body, said it was aware of an incident “regarding a player’s serious breach of protocol”

Querrey has not won a grand slam singles title in his career but is ranked world number 47.

Querrey has not responded to the allegations as at press time.

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Coronavirus

WHO study reveals new discovery about remdesivir drug’s effect on Covid-19 patients

The study found that the regimens appeared to have little or no effect on 28-day mortality or the length of the in-hospital course.

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A World Health Organization (WHO) study has discovered that Gilead Sciences Inc’s remdesivir had little or no effect on COVID-19 patients’ length of stay in the hospital or chances of survival.

The only antiviral drug authorized for treatments of Covid-19 in the US failed to prevent deaths among patients.

The antiviral medication, among the first to be used as a treatment for COVID-19, was one of the drugs recently used to treat U.S. President Donald Trump’s coronavirus infection.

The results are from WHO’s Solidarity trial, which evaluated the effects of 4 potential drug regimens, including remdesivir, hydroxychloroquine, anti-HIV drug combination lopinavir/ritonavir and interferon, in 11,266 adult patients across more than 30 countries.

The study found that the regimens appeared to have little or no effect on 28-day mortality or the length of the in-hospital course among patients hospitalized with COVID-19, the WHO said on Thursday.

The results of the trial, which were posted online on Thursday, October 15, 2020, are yet to be peer-reviewed or published in a scientific journal

Earlier this month, data from a U.S. study of remdesivir by Gilead showed that the treatment cut COVID-19 recovery time by five days compared with patients who got a placebo in a trial comprising 1,062 patients.

Gilead told Reuters, “The emerging (WHO) data appears inconsistent, with more robust evidence from multiple randomized, controlled studies published in peer-reviewed journals validating the clinical benefit of remdesivir.

“We are concerned the data from this open-label global trial has not undergone the rigorous review required to allow for constructive scientific discussion, particularly given the limitations of the trial design.”

Remdesivir, which was originally developed as a treatment for Ebola and Hepatitis C, interferes with the reproduction of viruses by jamming itself into new viral genes.

WHO chief scientist Soumya Swaminathan said on Wednesday that during the study, hydroxychloroquine and lopinavir/ritonavir were stopped in June after they proved ineffective, but other trials continued in more than 500 hospitals and 30 countries.

Swaminathan said, “We’re looking at what’s next. We’re looking at monoclonal anti-bodies, we’re looking at immunomodulators and some of the newer anti-viral drugs that have been developed in the last few months.”

Remdesivir received emergency use authorization from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on May 1, and has since been authorized for use in several countries.

Gilead, however, disputed the conclusions of the W.H.O. study on Thursday, noting that a variety of drugs and drug combinations had been evaluated under a wide range of circumstances and that more rigorous studies had found a benefit.

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