Debt swap – Arab Center Fri, 14 Jan 2022 22:23:00 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Debt swap – Arab Center 32 32 Ecuador expands marine protected area around the Galapagos Islands Fri, 14 Jan 2022 22:23:00 +0000

SANTA CRUZ, Ecuador, Jan 14 (Reuters) – Ecuador on Friday created a new marine reserve around its pristine Galapagos Islands – whose rich biodiversity inspired Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution – as it seeks extend the protection of endangered migratory species.

The reserve’s expansion by 60,000 square kilometers (23,166 square miles) is the first step in a plan agreed by Ecuador with close neighbors Colombia, Costa Rica and Panama at the United Nations Summit on the climate in Glasgow last year to create a common corridor through which species threatened by climate change and industrial fishing can migrate. Read more

The existing Galapagos Marine Reserve, one of the largest in the world, measures some 138,000 square kilometers (53,282 square miles), and the new conservation area will see 198,000 square kilometers (76,448 square miles) protected.

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“Today we declare a marine reserve with an area of ​​60,000 square kilometers, the equivalent of three times the size of Belize,” Ecuadorian President Guillermo Lasso said after signing the new reserve aboard the ship. research vessel Sierra Negra moored in Puerto. Ayora on Santa Cruz Island, the tourist center of the Galapagos.

At the United Nations Climate Summit, Lasso said he hoped the reserve expansion project would be funded through a conservation debt swap. However, on Friday, Lasso did not reveal any funding details.

Conservationists say the reserve will help protect at least five critically endangered species, including hammerhead sharks, whale sharks, turtles, as well as other species that migrate between Galapagos and Costa’s Cocos Island. Ric.

While this compresses the space available to Ecuadorian fishing crews, it will not avoid the presence of a Chinese fishing fleet of 300 vessels that anchor in international waters off the islands every year to hunt giant squid.

The impact of this fleet on the Galápagos ecosystem has yet to be determined by Ecuador.

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Reporting by Alexandra Valencia Writing by Oliver Griffin; Editing by Sandra Maler

Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

Algonquin Power & Utilities Corp. announces the price of its subordinated debt securities issues Thu, 13 Jan 2022 01:11:00 +0000

OAKVILLE, ON, January 12, 2022 / PRNewswire / – Algonquin Power & Utilities Corp. (“AQN” or the “Company”) (TSX: AQN) (NYSE: AQN) announced today that it has priced (i) the previously announced public offering underwritten in United States (the “US Offer”) of 750 million US dollars 4.75% aggregate principal amount of fixed-to-fixed reset rate of the Series 2022-B Senior Subordinated Notes due January 18, 2082 (the “US Notes”); and (ii) the public offer subscribed in Canada (the “Canadian Offering” and, together with the US Offering, the “Offers”) of 400 million Canadian dollars (about 320 million US dollars) aggregate principal amount of 5.25% fixed-to-fixed reset rate of Series 2022-A Senior Subordinated Notes due January 18, 2082 (the “Canadian Notes” and, together with the US Notes, the “Notes”). In conjunction with the pricing of the offers, the Company entered into a currency and interest rate swap, coincident with the Canadian notes, to convert the Canadian dollar denominated proceeds from the Canadian offer into US dollars. which resulted in an effective interest rate for the Company of approximately 5.08% throughout the initial fixed rate term of the Canadian Notes. Offers should close on or around January 18, 2022, subject to customary closing conditions.

AQN intends to use the net proceeds of the Offerings to partially fund the Corporation’s previously announced acquisition of Kentucky Power Company and AEP Kentucky Transmission Company, Inc. (the “Kentucky Power Acquisition”), with the proviso that in the short term, prior to the closing of the Kentucky Power Acquisition, the Company expects to use the net proceeds of the Offerings to reduce overdue amounts under the existing credit facilities of the Company and its subsidiaries.

The Offer in the United States is made to the public in United States pursuant to a prospectus supplement filed under the Company’s base shelf prospectus dated November 18, 2021 (the “Base Shelf Prospectus”), which will form part of the Company’s actual registration statement filed with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”). The Canadian offering is made to the public in each of the provinces and territories of Canada under a prospectus supplement filed under the base shelf prospectus.

The joint bookkeepers for the US offering are BofA Securities and Wells Fargo Securities and the principal underwriters for the Canadian offering are RBC Capital Markets and TD Securities. The terms of the US Notes will be set out in a final prospectus supplement to be filed by AQN under AQN’s issuer profile on SEDAR at and with the SEC at www.sec .gov and the terms of the Canadian Notes will be set out in a final prospectus supplement to be filed by AQN under AQN’s issuer profile on SEDAR at The base shelf prospectus and related prospectus supplements will contain important information about the US Notes and the Canadian Notes, respectively. Investors should read the base shelf prospectus and the applicable prospectus supplement before making an investment decision. Copies of the Base Shelf Prospectus and Prospectus Supplement for the US Notes are available free of charge by visiting or EDGAR on the SEC’s website at and copies of the Prospectus Basic Prerequisite and Prospectus Supplement for the Canadian Notes can be obtained free of charge by visiting Alternatively, AQN, any underwriter or broker participating (i) in the Offer in the United States will arrange to send you the base shelf prospectus and the prospectus supplement for the US Notes if you request it by calling BofA Securities. , Inc. toll free at 1-800-294-1322; or Wells Fargo Securities, LLC toll-free at 1-800-645-3751 and (ii) in connection with the Canadian offering, will arrange to send you the base shelf prospectus and the prospectus supplement for the Canadian Notes if you make a request by calling RBC Capital Markets at 416-842-6311; or TD Securities at 416-982-5676.

U.S. Notes will not be eligible for distribution to purchasers in Canada, or residents of Canada, under the securities laws of any province or territory of Canada. US Bonds may not be, directly or indirectly, offered, sold or delivered in Canada or residents of Canada.

The Canadian Notes will not be registered under the US Securities Act of 1933, as amended, or any state securities law, and may not be offered or sold in United States or to persons in the United States without a registration or applicable exemption, or in connection with a transaction not subject to the registration requirements of the US Securities Act of 1933 and applicable securities laws.

This press release does not constitute an offer to sell or the solicitation of an offer to buy any of the securities described in this press release, and there will be no sale of such securities in any state or jurisdiction in which a such offer, solicitation or sale would be illegal prior to registration or qualification under the securities laws of such jurisdiction.

All dollar amounts mentioned in this document are in US dollars, unless otherwise indicated.

About Algonquin Power & Utilities Corp.

Algonquin Power & Utilities Corp., parent company of Liberty, is a diversified international power generation, transmission and distribution utility with more than $ 16 billion of total assets. Through its two business groups, the Regulated Services Group and the Renewable Energy Group, AQN is committed to providing safe, secure, reliable, cost-effective and sustainable energy and water solutions through its portfolio investments in the production, transmission and distribution of electricity. to more than a million customer connections, mainly in United States and Canadian. AQN is a global leader in renewable energy through its portfolio of wind, solar and hydroelectric plants under long-term contracts. AQN owns, operates and / or holds a net interest in more than 4 GW of installed capacity of renewable energy.

AQN is committed to ensuring the growth and pursuit of operational excellence in a sustainable manner through an expanding global pipeline of renewable energy development and power transmission projects, organic growth within its activities of production, distribution and transmission at regulated tariffs, and the pursuit of acquisitions.

AQN’s common shares, Series A preferred shares and Series D preferred shares are listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange under the symbols AQN, AQN.PR.A and AQN.PR.D, respectively. AQN’s common shares, Series 2018-A Subordinated Notes, Series 2019-A Subordinated Notes and Equity Units are listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbols AQN, AQNA, AQNB and AQNU, respectively. .

Caution regarding forward-looking information

Certain statements included in this press release constitute “forward-looking information” within the meaning of applicable securities laws in each of the provinces and territories of Canada. Canada and the respective policies, regulations and rules under such laws and “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of the United States Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 (collectively, “forward-looking statements”). , “expects”, “intends” and similar phrases are often intended to identify forward-looking statements, although not all forward-looking statements contain these identifying words. Specific forward-looking statements in this press release include, without limitation, statements regarding the closing of the Offers and the intended use of the proceeds from the Offers. These statements are based on factors or assumptions that have been applied in reaching a conclusion or making a forecast or projection, including assumptions based on historical trends, current conditions and the expected future Given that forward-looking statements relate to future events and conditions, by their very nature they are based on assumptions and involve inherent risks and uncertainties. AQN cautions that while the assumptions are believed to be reasonable in the circumstances, these risks and uncertainties give rise to the possibility that actual results may differ materially from the expectations set forth in the forward-looking statements. Significant risk factors and assumptions include those set out in AQN’s MD&A and annual information form for the year ended. December 31, 2020 and the management report of AQN for the three months and nine months ended September 30, 2021, each of which is available on SEDAR and EDGAR, and those set out in the prospectus supplements relating to the Offers. In view of these risks, one should not place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements, which speak only as of their date. Unless specifically required by law, AQN makes no commitment to update forward-looking statements to reflect new information, subsequent or otherwise.

SOURCE Algonquin Power & Utilities Corp.

Quad, led by India, can save Sri Lanka from its “Made in China” crisis. But timing is the key Tue, 11 Jan 2022 05:30:34 +0000

Wang Yi is on the move. On his first overseas trip this year, the Chinese foreign minister will visit several Indian Ocean states, including the Maldives and Sri Lanka. As Beijing well knows, New Delhi will keep an eagle eye.

Omens are not good. Sri Lanka faces an economic crisis, while the Maldives are heavily in debt with China holding the bills. But there is enough room for maneuver for India, provided it moves quickly and positively. Meanwhile, others will be watching too. The Indian Ocean is, after all, today a major contestation area.

Visiting the Maldives

Wang is in the Maldives to celebrate 50 years of diplomatic relations, for which he has allocated two full days in an extremely busy schedule. Even as his tour was announced, a “Go India Go” was hosted by former President Abdullah Yameen, whose intensely pro-Chinese stance led to debt to China reaching $ 1.4 billion, representing 38%. of the country’s national debt and 78 percent of its external debt. The current government of Maldives is taking a more cautious stance, although total debt still stands at 125 percent of GDP. He wants to renegotiate the terms with China, but there is no mention of this in a singularly tasteless press release that did not indicate any major results.

Beijing has proposed visa-free status, which doesn’t matter much, but gives Ibrahim Solih’s government a certain cachet locally. The desalination plant proposal was signed last year, but there is an economic and technical cooperation agreement on grants, totaling 400 million yuan (about $ 63 million) to be used also for infrastructure projects. Beijing is already crowding out the archipelago with a host of projects that include the China-Maldives Friendship Bridge and the expansion of Velana International Airport (which moved the Indian GMR) in addition to the huge housing units at Hulhumale, not to mention Chinese companies moving to lease Feydhoo Finolhu Island for 50 years for a pittance, another similar lease of Kunvaashi Atoll, and a huge stadium in the capital. An earlier proposal for the Makunudhoo Observatory raised the thorns of New Delhi and was ultimately scrapped.

Maldivian Foreign Minister Abdullah Shahid thanked Beijing for 200,000 Covid-19 vaccines, but he also gratefully accepted the United States Pfizer and AstraZeneca. Meanwhile, with the suspension of 26 weekly flights by China to the archipelago, it is Russian and Indian tourists who have taken over, to allow tourism which is the basis of financial stability, to levels almost pre -pandemic. Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Shahid praised the Belt and Road initiative and is due to attend the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing in his capacity as chairman of the General Assembly of United Nations. It’s an eye for the United States.

Read also : New study shows strong influence of China in 70 global institutions in charts

Wang in Lanka

Wang’s visit to Sri Lanka was already eclipsed to some extent, when Lankan companies refused to accept contaminated fertilizers from China. A huge row ensued, with the People’s Bank of Sri Lanka blacklisted by the Chinese Embassy, ​​and threats to negatively influence the country’s credit rating. The row arose amid a courageous decision by President Gotbaya Rajpaksa to switch entirely to organic fertilizers, which reportedly resulted in a significant drop in the harvest. True or not, it became a political scandal, and Colombo relented, paying $ 6.9 million ahead of Wang’s visit.

Wang’s meetings were not without political embarrassment, as President Rajapaksa called for debt restructuring and “concessional terms” for his exports. Earlier, Sri Lanka’s Ambassador to China Dr Palitha Kohona stressed the need to learn from Pakistan and Bangladesh and opt for a free trade agreement with China, which Sri Lanka does has so far resisted, due to its fear of being overwhelmed by the might.

Some six meetings have taken place, and Wang has raised the issue again, with his Ambassador in Colombo a little more forceful on the subject. The request for China to allow its tourists to return to the island is unlikely to be granted, given that Beijing is unlikely to ease its strict Covid restrictions. Meanwhile, India topped the list of tourist arrivals in 2021.

The Foreign Ministry’s reading ultimately made no reference to any of these critical issues, simply stating that “discussions” had taken place on investments, trade promotion and tourism, and particularly on “promoting links. Buddhists ”with the nation. The agreements signed did not appear exceptional and included an agreement on economic and technical cooperation, letters of exchange on the subsidized housing project for low-income groups in Colombo and a completed project on ambulance vehicles for kidney disease screening and a conference center.

the embassy, however, reported a subsidy of LKR 25.5 billion (GNI 800 million), which appears to be Ambassador Zhenhong’s overall assessment of the agreements. He also chose to stress that “no third party can derail the close Sino-Lankan ties.” No prize for guessing who it was for. He also re-insisted on the FTA and considered a $ 15 billion investment in the port city in the future. The Chinese Foreign Ministry only praised and did nothing.

In the final analysis, the visit did not give in on debt rescheduling, which is Sri Lanka’s most pressing issue at the moment. Foreign debt repayments alone amount to more than $ 4.5 billion a year through 2025, absorbing about 40% of annual merchandise export earnings. Official figures indicate that only 10 percent of the total of $ 35.1 billion is held by China. This does not cover a recent 10 billion RMB (US $ 1.5 billion) exchange that saved Sri Lanka from a severe forex crisis at the end of 2021, which highlights how dependent Colombo has become. help from Beijing. This figure also does not cover Chinese aid through the Asian Development Bank. China is also the biggest investor, accounting for 23.6% of total FDI.

The end result, however, emerges from the facts, namely that China took over Hambantota (99 years ago, that’s practically it); that a Chinese company is the first to have a highway on the island; that Beijing owns 88 hectares of the port city of Colombo (CPC), still with a 99-year lease; that the clauses of the CPC led the Supreme Court to order the Parliament to proceed to a reassessment of questions of sovereignty; and that India and Japan were both kicked out of the Eastern container terminal at the end of 2021, apparently due to “resistance” from the unions. In other words, China’s dominance of infrastructure is far more important than what debt statistics or FDI figures show.

More curious still, the Chinese seem to be investing in projects that the host country cannot develop, like Hambantota, which was practically overgrown with weeds until the Chinese took over, and the international airport of Mattala called “The most empty airport in the world”. The CCP will again demand that Colombo depend on Beijing. All of them, however, are extremely strategic and when combined with other projects like the container terminals at the Port of Colombo, China is everywhere, and for its own benefit, rather than for the benefit of Colombo.

Read also : A decades-old amendment to Sri Lanka’s constitution is further straining ties with India. here’s why

Beijing’s new tactic

Meanwhile, Beijing is learning. Previously, the Chinese Ambassador to Sri Lanka, Qi Zhenhong, had chosen to visit the predominantly Tamil Northern Province and perform a puja, shirtless, dressed in traditional white silk. vetti (scarf), something unheard of, even among the warrior-wolf diplomats of China. The reason is not far to seek. Tamil politicians have been the most critical of the CCP in parliament, including former Northern Province chief minister CV Wigneswaran, Tamil National People’s Front leader Gajen Ponnambalam and Tamil National Alliance MP and senior lawyer MA Sumanthiran, among others. In addition, getting closer to the Tamils ​​is probably seen as another way to undermine Indian influence.

President Rajapaksa once said that other countries could invest in Sri Lanka. “This is how you can counter, complaining will not be enough.” This is partly true, but India has invested, as has Japan, and has been turned down. Although devoid of Beijing’s deep pockets, New Delhi has recently raised its profile, extending lines of credit and modest grants, rather than massive loans. But India’s big banks are cautious about extending lines of credit given the Sri Lankan central bank’s severe dollar shortage, which means investments are not available when they are needed most.

In the Maldives, India has been more aggressive with the larger male connectivity project and grants of over $ 100 million. Japan followed with assistance, as did Australia to a lesser extent, and the United States. Obviously, Male has options presented to him. But Sri Lanka has garnered little US interest, and Australia is virtually invisible. Japan is a strong partner, and the three could do more, with India, provided Colombo decides that excessive reliance on Beijing is bad for its health. But timing is everything. If the “Quad” is to mean anything, the Four must act smart to save Colombo from its “Made in China” crisis and save Sri Lankan sovereignty for itself. As for the Maldives, the four of them must plan the vacation periods of their respective populations in search of pleasure. It is that simple.

The author is Distinguished Fellow at the Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies, New Delhi. She tweets @kartha_tara. Opinions are personal.

(Edited by Prashant)

Pay off foreign debt or finance essential imports – Groundviews Sun, 09 Jan 2022 08:43:23 +0000

Photo courtesy of South China Morning Post

The country’s available foreign reserves can be used either to repay foreign creditors or to finance imports of essential goods and services required by its citizens. This is the dilemma Sri Lanka faces today. Redeeming the full value of the bond using the limited foreign exchange reserves available would provide an exceptional gain to those who currently hold those bonds.[1] But it will come at a great cost to the citizens of the country who will face shortages of essentials like food, medicine and fuel.

Under these circumstances, it is in the best interests of all of its citizens that the government defer payment of the $ 500 million International Sovereign Bond (ISB) due January 18, 2022, until the economy can recover and rebuild completely.

Just as a person with co-morbidities is more likely to develop serious illness if infected with COVID-19 and more likely to require hospitalization and even treatment in an intensive care unit, Sri Lanka was vulnerable to economic shocks though. before COVID-19 hits. The country was already facing several macroeconomic challenges. Moderate economic growth. An untenable budgetary situation. Although a rigorous consolidation program was put in place to put public finances back on a more sustainable path, sweeping tax changes implemented at the end of 2019 reversed this process, with negative consequences for tax collection. Public revenue. Weakness of the external sector due to high repayments of external debt and insufficient foreign exchange reserves to service these debts. COVID-19 has only exacerbated these macroeconomic challenges. And as a patient who gets over the worst of COVID-19 has a long road to recovery; Sri Lanka’s economy faces many challenges getting back on track.

The outbreak of COVID-19 in early 2020 has only worsened an already grim macroeconomic situation. The country has lost the confidence of international markets and the sovereign’s ability to renew its external debt has become difficult, if not impossible. Under these circumstances, there was a strong case for sovereign debt restructuring. But the response from the government and the Central Bank of Sri Lanka (CBSL) was a firm “no”. The argument was that Sri Lanka had never defaulted on its debt and was not going to do so now. The official position was also that the government had a “plan” to repay its debt and therefore there was no reason to engage in a debt restructuring exercise. However, Sri Lanka faced high debt sustainability risks: the debt-to-GDP ratio at 110% was one of the highest in history and interest payments on government revenues at over 70%. % were one of the highest in the world.

Fast forward to 2022. The country’s foreign exchange reserves have declined to $ 3.1 billion.[2] Usable reserves are much lower. CBSL has sold more than $ 200 million of the country’s gold reserves to service its debts. In the first week of 2022, CBSL announced new swap facilities and its commitment to repay the $ 500 million International Sovereign Bond (ISB) due in January. According to Central Bank statistics, in addition to the BSI payment, there are predetermined outflows of foreign exchange reserves amounting to $ 1.3 billion in the first two months of 2022. In addition, on the basis of Based on trade data for the past 5 years, the country has on average a trade deficit of around $ 2 billion to finance in the first quarter of the year (see Table 1). With expected tourism flows threatened by the appearance of the Omicron variant and the continuing decline in workers’ remittances, funding this external current account deficit will add further pressure on available foreign exchange reserves. India, which accounted for around 20% of recent tourist arrivals, is now forcing returnees to the country to self-quarantine. This will probably further curb tourist arrivals.

In this context, the country faces a trade-off between using its limited foreign reserves to repay its debt or using it to finance essential imports. $ 500 million is enough to finance imports of fuel for five months or pharmaceuticals for a year or dairy products for a year and a half or fertilizer for two years.

Table 1: Summary of the performance of the external sector Q1 – 2017 to 2021 (millions $)

Therefore, it is in the best interests of the country and its citizens that the government postpone paying its debt and use its limited foreign reserves to ensure an uninterrupted supply of essential imports. But it requires a plan. To minimize the cost to the economy, the government must immediately engage its creditors in a debt restructuring exercise. This will require a Debt Sustainability Analysis (DSA) by a credible agency to identify the resources needed for debt relief and the economic adjustment needed to put the country back on a sustainable path.[3] This will be essential to bring creditors to the negotiating table and assure them that the country is able and willing to repay its debt obligations in the future.

The cost of not restructuring is much higher. A non-negotiated default (if and when the country runs out of options to service its debt) would result in a greater loss of production, loss of access to finance, or a high cost of future borrowing for the sovereign . It could even spill over into the national banking sector, triggering a banking or financial crisis.

The consequences are clear. What will we choose?

[1] Sri Lankan sovereign bondholders have been anticipating debt restructuring for over a year and a half and the losses have been reflected on the market basis.

[2] Foreign exchange reserves at the end of December 2021 reached 3.1 billion US dollars with the inclusion of the swap with the People’s Bank of China which had been excluded in previous months.

[3] Given that the IMF has just completed its Article IV review, this assessment has likely already been undertaken.

Dr Roshan Perera is a Principal investigator to Advocata Institute and the former director from Central Bank of Sri Lanka. Dr Sarath Rajapatirana is the Chair of the Academic Program of the Advocata Institute and the former Economic Advisor to the World Bank.

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FGN budget – an expansionist position in 2022 Fri, 07 Jan 2022 16:46:46 +0000

The FGN’s 2022 budget titled Economic Growth and Sustainability was signed by President Buhari on December 31, ’21. Overall spending is estimated at N17.1 billion, which is 18% more than the aggregate FGN expenditure in 2021 of N14.6 billion.

The total amount allocated for capital spending in the 2022 budget is 5.96 billion naira. This represents 35% of total expenditure (above the 30% target set by the current administration) and is 14% higher than the 2021 provision of N5.23trn. The budget has an estimated deficit of 6.39 billion naira, or about 4.1% of total GDP (in 2020) and is slightly above the 3% ceiling set by the 2007 Fiscal Responsibility Act (FRA).

Tax expenditures also include a statutory transfer of 869.7 billion naira, debt service of 3.6 billion naira, a sinking fund of 270.7 billion naira, recurrent expenditure (excluding debt) of 6.9 billion naira and special (recurring) interventions of 350.0 billion naira.

Assumptions for the 2022 national budget include a benchmark oil price of 62 USD / b, 1.9 mbpd of oil production, an exchange rate of 410.15 N / USD, a GDP growth rate of 4.2 % year-over-year and an inflation rate of 13%.

In addition, the budget deficit is expected to be financed by foreign borrowing of 2.6 billion naira and domestic borrowing of 2.6 billion naira, privatization proceeds of 90.7 billion naira and drawdowns on multilateral loans. / bilateral by 1.2 billion naira.

Regarding debt sustainability, Nigeria’s debt-to-GDP ratio stood at 30% at end-September’21. It is relatively low compared to other African economies such as Kenya (65%), South Africa (80%) and Egypt (90%). However, the country’s debt service-to-revenue ratio stood at 76% as of November 21, one of the highest among African economies.

The overall revenue available to finance the 2022 national budget is projected at 10.7 billion naira. Projected revenue is 32.3% higher than the previous year and includes oil revenue estimated at 3.4 billion naira (31.3% of total revenue) and non-oil revenue of 7.3 billion Naira. naira (68.7% of total revenue).

Regarding revenue mobilization, the FGN plans to increase the revenue / GDP ratio from around 8% to 15% by 2025. In accordance with the priorities of the 2022 budget, certain essential policies of the 2021 budget law which Could help achieve this include the imposition of excise duties on non-alcoholic, carbonated, and sugar-sweetened beverages as well as technology reforms by the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) to improve tax administration and increase revenue.

Based on our estimates, between January and November ’21, FGN expenditure is 5.9% below the pro-rated budget of N13.4trn while revenues are 25.9% below the pro-rated budget of N7 .4trn. In addition, we note that the debt service is 38% higher than the pro-rated budget of N3.0trn.

The FGN aims to further strengthen the frameworks of concessions and public-private partnerships (PPP) as well as explore green finance opportunities, such as the implementation of the sovereign green bond program and swap mechanisms. of debt against the climate. The national budget should target the financing of essential development projects and programs that should improve the economic and business environment.

Good fiscal management is necessary to keep the economy afloat in the short term and drive it towards double-digit growth in the medium and long term. Capital spending should be maximized to increase the potential for income generation and growth in the non-oil economy. Although there are FGN PPP initiatives, increased private sector participation is still needed.

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SM Line expected to increase HMM investment when Seoul sells its stake Wed, 05 Jan 2022 15:01:37 +0000

Credit HMM.

Speculation about a possible union of the two South Korean cruise ship operators has increased after SM Merchant Marine (also known as SM Line) expanded its stake in HMM, and could further increase its stake this year.

On December 29, SM Line, which the Samra Midas Group (SM) formed in 2016 after acquiring the remaining operations from the bankrupt Hanjin Shipping, acquired an additional 613,438 shares in HMM for $ 14 million, bringing its holding to over 2.41 million shares, or 0.49%.

Another SM company, the bulk carrier operator Korea Shipping (formerly Samsun Logix), acquired by SM in 2017, owns more than 2.15 million HMM shares, or 0.44% of the capital, which means that the SM group now holds 0.93%.

SM played down discussions about the acquisition of HMM, insisting that the purchase of shares in SM Line was a pure investment. SM Line did not respond to The Loadstar request for comment.

The South Korean government became a shareholder in HMM in 2016, with a debt-for-stock swap to save the company from bankruptcy, and intends to sell its stake this year.

Xeneta chief analyst Peter Sand said The charging star whereas, while the liner operators had engaged in vertical integration by acquiring logistics companies, any further consolidation among the carriers seems to be excluded.

But he added: “In South Korea it’s different. That the government was backing a struggling flagship carrier and that SM Lines canceled an IPO at the last minute seemed odd. “

SM Line retired from listing in November, claiming mixed interest from investors, but Sand said that when it comes to container shipping in South Korea, politics play an important role. And he said that while SM Line’s interest in HMM was insignificant in value, it was symbolic.

“This surely makes SM Line in the circle of investors question whether the government’s stake in HMM should be sold.”

Linerlytica analyst Tan Hua Joo said The charging star that while the SM Group was considered a “white knight” in the South Korean shipping industry, HMM no longer needed financial support.

Mr Tan said: “I would not rule out further purchases of shares by SM Line, as HMM is relatively undervalued at this point. It would make sense for SM Line and HMM to merge, as these two lines are in competition in the same markets. “

The government, through political lenders Korea Development Bank and Korea Ocean Business Corp, owns around 44% of HMM shares, but this could exceed 70% as these institutions hold convertible bonds, which can be transferred into HMM shares.

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Comment: Should we be worried about a rise in the cost of living in 2022? Sat, 01 Jan 2022 22:01:03 +0000

It comes after private house prices have risen by around 9% since the start of 2020, even though the economy has been hit by the pandemic. HDB resale values ​​are also on an upward trend.

Those who intend to invest in real estate will be affected, while Singapore citizens looking to buy their first property will face little to no impact.


As we begin 2022, Singaporeans will look to Budget 2022, which is due to be announced in February, and all the steps it is expected to take to help stem the rising cost of living.

The government could provide more subsidies for necessities such as electricity, food and public transport. Another way to help would be to delay the increase in the goods and services tax (GST).

I would even take it a step further and say that it would help to reduce the GST by one to two percentage points for a year or two. To help make up for lost income, the government could increase the marginal tax rate in the highest income bracket.

Overall, the inflation rate in November 2021 is not something to worry too much about, but high inflation can indirectly lead to high interest rates, and those with loans should consider more. Carefully look at interest rates or refinancing options.

Citizens would also appreciate government grants to help cover costs.

Sumit Agarwal is Low Tuck Kwong Emeritus Professor of Finance, Economics and Real Estate at the National University of Singapore (NUS) Business School and Managing Director of the Sustainable and Green Finance Institute at NUS. He is also co-author of Kiasunomics and Kiasunomics 2. The opinions expressed are those of the author and do not represent the views and opinions of NUS.

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Lanka prepares an agreement on an oil park with India; Wang to travel to Colombo after spitting, and may offer sweeteners Wed, 29 Dec 2021 10:07:18 +0000 Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi will visit Sri Lanka next week amid a crippling economic crisis that has seen Colombo look to Delhi for help and swiftly execute the long-delayed India-Sri Lanka plan to the joint development of the Trincomalee petroleum reservoir farm.

Wang Yi’s two-day visit, expected between Jan. 7 and Jan. 9, will take place amid a row between the two countries over a contaminated shipment of organic fertilizer that has led to unexpected tensions between the two countries. two countries.

After Colombo cancels order to import 99,000 tonnes of fertilizer, Beijing blacklisted Sri Lankan People’s Bank and accused it of “vicious” default on letter of credit .


India Angle: 1987 Agreement

INDIA’S INTEREST in the petroleum tank farm dates back to the signing of the India-Sri Lanka Agreement of 1987, which stipulated in the annex that the renovation works of the tank farm located in the northeastern province of Trincomalee would be undertaken jointly by the two of the countries. The deal lay dormant as India and then Sri Lanka fought the Tamil Tigers. An attempted relaunch in 2003 came to nothing. In 2017, the two sides agreed to operationalize the long-standing deal, but opposition from unions at Ceylon Petroleum Corporation delayed any progress on the file.

Earlier this month, as the Chinese company launched arbitration proceedings for $ 8 million in compensation, Sri Lanka ended the controversy by agreeing to make a payment of $ 6.4 million. dollars.

Wang Yi’s visit will be important for the sweeteners he can offer the Rajapaksa government to recover the lost goodwill.

Meanwhile, Colombo continues to finalize plans for the joint development with India of a huge fleet of petroleum reservoirs in Trincomalee. Although neither country puts it so loudly, Delhi could in return offer financial assistance to help Sri Lanka overcome its current crisis.

“We said that the two issues should progress in parallel, and that the progress of one should strengthen the progress of the other towards strengthening economic ties,” an official source said, adding that the coming month could see important developments on the Trincomalee oil tank farm agreement. .

Sri Lanka’s foreign exchange reserves fell to $ 1.6 billion at the end of November. The shortage has led to a drop in food imports, pushing up the prices of basic necessities in the country. An IMF bailout is the last option Sri Lanka is unwilling to take.

Earlier this month, international rating agency Fitch downgraded Sri Lanka’s rating from CCC to CC, warning that the country was likely to default on two international sovereign bonds, one to come in January 2022 for $ 500 million and the other maturing in July for $ 1 billion.

The Central Bank of Sri Lanka called Fitch’s action “hasty” and said it had failed to take into account Colombo’s diplomatic efforts with friendly countries to secure financial aid. A statement from the bank said cash flow was expected by the end of December 2021 and March 2022.

“The government and the Central Bank remain confident that these flows will materialize and that the level of gross official reserves at the end of 2021 will remain above $ 3 billion. Fitch appears to have ignored the SWAP reserve facility with the People’s Bank of China of around $ 1.5 billion, ”the press release said.

In addition to loans and foreign currency term financing agreements with China during the year, Sri Lanka signed the three-year stand-by swap agreement with Beijing in March 2021. The governor of the Central bank said earlier this month that the government could take advantage of it to pay. for imports from China.

But Colombo has also asked India for help. Sri Lankan Finance Minister Basil Rajapaksa, who visited Delhi in November, was offered a “four-fold package” – a line of credit for fuel imports only from India; early finalization of the joint India-Sri Lanka development plan for the Trincomalee petroleum park; a currency exchange offer to help Lanka pay off its external debt; and the facilitation of Indian investments in various sectors.

Earlier this week, the Sri Lankan weekly Sunday Times reported that Energy Minister Udaya Gammanpila had tasked the chairman of Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) to form a subsidiary, Trinco Petroleum Terminal Ltd, which will be the ad hoc vehicle for India-Sri Lanka. joint development of the Trincomalee petroleum park.

The decision is expected to be approved at a cabinet meeting next week. The newspaper reported that President Gotabya Rajapaksa agreed to the formation of the branch.

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Tom Lovejoy, prominent conservation biologist, dies at age 80 Sun, 26 Dec 2021 00:29:51 +0000
  • Tom Lovejoy, a prominent and influential conservation biologist who helped catalyze a global movement to save life on Earth as we know it, has passed away. He was 80 years old.
  • Lovejoy was known as a pioneer of modern conservation efforts, a passionate advocate for wildlife and wild places, and a great thinker who came up with bold and innovative ideas.
  • Lovejoy is credited with coining the term ‘biodiversity’, developing the concept of ‘debt-for-nature’ swaps and being one of the first to sound the alarm bells about the global extinction crisis.
  • “Tom was a beloved icon in the conservation field: a mentor to many, a friend to all,” said Mark Plotkin, conservation biologist and ethnobotanist. “He fought for biodiversity and against climate change through his ideas, his writings, his projects, his initiatives and everything he shaped and inspired.

Thomas E. Lovejoy III, a prominent and influential conservation biologist who helped catalyze a global movement to save the Amazon rainforest and served as an advisor to a wide range of world leaders on environmental issues, has passed away. He was 80 years old.

Lovejoy was known as a pioneer of modern conservation efforts, a passionate advocate for wildlife and wild places, and a great thinker who came up with bold and innovative ideas to protect the planet. He is credited with coining the term “biological diversity”, developing the concept of “debt-for-nature” swaps, and being one of the first to warn of the extent of loss of species in the world and to elevate the issue of climate change as a global problem. problem.

“Tom, more than anyone in history, has been responsible for placing Brazil, the Amazon and all of South America on the international conservation agenda,” said Russell Mittermeier, a conservation biologist who has worked with Lovejoy for almost 50 years. “On top of that, he was among the very first to bring the world’s attention to climate change and was arguably the greatest of all to link biodiversity and climate change, which he has continued to do until ‘nowadays. “

Tom Lovejoy with Regina Luizao from INPA in the Amazon. Photo credit: William F. Laurance

Lovejoy led the Minimum Critical Size of Ecosystems in the Amazon project, which dramatically improved biologists’ understanding of the impacts of habitat fragmentation and helped raise global concern about deforestation in the Amazon. He also helped transform the World Wildlife Fund from what was then a small NGO into a conservation giant working on issues on a global scale and founded the public television series Nature, which has informed and inspired countless people.

“In many ways he was the original ‘biopolitician’ – a leading scientist who was just as comfortable being around prime ministers and senators as he was being a field biologist in the United States. muddy knees, ”said conservation biologist William F. Laurance, who took over the leadership of Lovejoy’s Minimum Critical Ecosystem Size project before the initiative was renamed the Forest Fragment Biological Dynamics Project (BDFFP). “BDFFP has become one of the world’s most important field research and experimentation stations and Tom has used it as a platform to introduce politicians, dignitaries and celebrities to the wonders of the Amazon rainforest. . “

The Biological Dynamics of Forest Fragments project examined the effect of habitat size and fragmentation on forest health and ecology.  Image credit: Maxar Technologies.
The Biological Dynamics of Forest Fragments project investigated how habitat size and fragmentation affects forest health and ecology. Image credit: Maxar Technologies.

Lovejoy was a prolific writer whose work ranged from articles published in prestigious academic journals to thought-provoking articles in the world’s most widely read newspapers. He has won numerous accolades, from the Tyler Prize for Environmental Achievement to the BBVA Foundation Frontiers of Knowledge Award to the Blue Planet Prize.

Lovejoy has held many positions during his six-decade conservation career, including advising several Presidents, the World Bank, the United Nations Foundation, and numerous NGOs. He continued to be actively engaged in conservation during the last weeks of his life.

Thomas Lovejoy.  Photo credit: William F. Laurance
Tom Lovejoy. Photo credit: William F. Laurance

“Tom was a beloved icon in the conservation arena: a mentor to many, a friend to all,” said Mark Plotkin, conservation biologist and ethnobotanist, Amazon Conservation Team. “He fought for biodiversity and against climate change through his ideas, his writings, his projects, his initiatives and everything he shaped and inspired.

This is news in development. Mongabay plans to post a more detailed obituary on Tom Lovejoy.

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Iran agrees to swap tea for debt, revives barter trade to avoid sanctions Thu, 23 Dec 2021 12:57:15 +0000

Iranian authorities have signed an agreement with Sri Lanka that will allow the South Asian country to repay its debt to Iran through tea exports.

Iranian Deputy Minister of Commerce Alireza Peymanpak sign a memorandum of understanding on the proposal with Sri Lankan Minister of Plantation Industries Navin Dissanayake earlier this week in the Sri Lankan capital Colombo.

Sri Lanka’s Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) owes Tehran some $ 251 million for past oil imports. As part of the deal, Sri Lanka’s treasury is expected to release around $ 5 million rupees per month to pay tea exporters.

The barter deal resurrects a tactic often used by Iran in the past to try to circumvent international sanctions, although the proposed deals often fail before they can be implemented.

It is also useful for Sri Lanka, which suffered from the collapse of its tourism industry during the Covid-19 pandemic and is experiencing a debt and currency crisis.

Sri Lanka Tea Board officials previously pitched the idea of ​​a tea-for-debt swap in 2018, with a plan for the CCP to pay the country’s tea growers for any exports to Iran. Sri Lanka Tea Board Chairman Lucille Wijewardena said at the time that debts were equivalent to the equivalent of a year of tea exports to Iran. However, the plan ultimately went nowhere.

Prior to that, in 2013 and 2014, there had been reports that Iran and Russia had agreed to trade up to 500,000 bpd of Iranian oil for Russian goods over two or three years, in the part of a deal worth up to $ 1.5 billion per month. Russian officials have denied the existence of such an agreement, but rumors about it persisted for several years.

Earlier this year, there had been speculation about a possible Tehran-Beijing barter deal involving Iranian oil and Chinese J-10C fighter jets.

India and Pakistan have also been linked in the past to possible barter deals, typically trading Iranian oil for consumer or agricultural goods.

Discussions of possible barter deals tend to intensify when Iran feels pressured on the international stage. In 2018, as the administration of US President Donald Trump threatened to pull out of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal – which relaxed trade restrictions on the country – Iranian lawmaker Assadollah Qarehkhani told local media that parliament had set up a special commission to deal with barter transactions.

The 2015 accord is currently the subject of talks in Vienna, where signatories including the United States and European countries hope to revive it. Tehran, however, may be bracing for the talks to drag on or collapse.

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